Gower Bibliography

Gower's Use of 'Vita Barlaam et Josaphat' in Confessio Amantis

Ito, Masayoshi. "Gower's Use of 'Vita Barlaam et Josaphat' in Confessio Amantis." Studies in English Literature 56 (1979), pp. 3-18.


Gower's CA borrows from the "Vita Barlaam et Josaphat" in two places. First of all, the Trump of Death story is based on the first of the Vita's ten apologues. Analogues are further found in the Legenda Aurea, the Gesta Romanorum, and in the 16th century Japanese Christian text "Sanctos no gosagveo." Examples of Gower's changes include the greater contrast between the May setting and the age of the pilgrims, the sharp contrast in character between the king and his proud brother, and Gower's final emphasis on "the necessity of humble obedience to the law of nature established by God" (10). Gower's exposition on the gods in Book 6 is also based on the Vita, but Gower expands the section on the Greek deities by using Berchorius' "De formis figurisque deorum" (the first chapter of his Ovidius moralizatus). Comparison of the source texts reveals, for example, that "gentils" (in 5.1271) should be translated as "gentiles" (not "gentle people") and that naming Philyra as mother of Jupiter is not peculiar to Gower. Gower especially follows the Vita in "rejecting Berchorius' allegorical and favorable interpretations of pagan divinities" (15). Ito concludes with some comments on the Japanese text Sanctos no gosagveo." [CvD]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Confessio Amantis

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