Gower Bibliography

Complaint and Satire in Early English Literature

Peter, John. "Complaint and Satire in Early English Literature." Oxford: Clarendon, 1956

Review

Peter's book on the genres of complaint and satire in the Middle Ages and Renaissance occasionally uses Gower as an example of the "moralizing, quasi-sermonic bent" (51) typical of complaint literature. Peter suggests that Gower's attempt to take the "middel weie" between lust and lore, or between courtly love and moral teaching, was "like mixing oil and water" (52) so that much of the CA is "almost unreadable" (52). Peter mines the CA for some of the staple ingredients of complaint literature, including the nostalgic description of the Golden Age, the frequent reminder of the coming end times (forecast by the statue of Nebuchadnezzar), the conception of a retributive God, and the critique of the rich. Peter also uses Gower as an example of how the topics of complaint literature influenced the development of the morality play and (later) tragedy. [CvD]

Item Type:Book
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Confessio Amantis
Influence and Later Allusion

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