Gower Bibliography

The Literary Uses of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381

Theiner, Paul. "The Literary Uses of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381." In Actes du VIe Congres de l’Association Internationale de Litterature Comparée. Ed. Cadot, Michel, et al. Stuttgart: Erich Bieber, 1975, pp. 303-306.


Theiner argues first that the Peasants' Revolt was not an isolated incident of violence in the fourteenth century, and then provides a short overview of how Gower and Froissart viewed the events. Gower is a "mirror of his age" (304) and so in the VC he defends the hierarchical order by turning the rebels into animals. These unnatural transformations (the animals are really monsters) lead to poetry that is neither beast-fable nor successful narrative (305). When the vision then turns into allegory, the references to the fall of Troy are likewise unconvincing. Many Trojan names "are strewn about pretty much at random, identifying no one in particular, but trying to convince the reader that what he has in front of him is a coherent allegory" (305). The resulting lack of true narrative and causation means that Gower does not really engage with the changes of history (as Froissart does in a limited way) and rather describes the revolt as "a state of being" (306). [CvD]

Item Type:Book Section
Subjects:Vox Clamantis

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