Gower Bibliography

Constance in Fourteenth-Century England

Isaacs, Neil D. "Constance in Fourteenth-Century England." Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 58 (1958), pp. 260-277. ISSN 0028-3754

Review

Isaacs compares three versions of the story of Constance – Chaucer's, Gower's and "Emare." He suggests that they were likely written within about 10 years of each other, but he does not try to trace the direction of influence. Isaacs finds Gower's octosyllabic couplets "aesthetically quite pleasing" (268), even though Gower's tale is otherwise sparse (or "colorless"; 268) on rhetorical figures. He then provides extensive plot summaries of the three versions, italicizing similarities and noting differences in the analysis that follows. In all three versions the incest-motif is downplayed and the attractiveness of the heroine is emphasized. Gower changes some of the focus to the sin of envy and he tends to concentrate on "the quality of things and people, questions of good and evil making up the bulk of his descriptions as well as of his incidents" (274). Gower also "makes an effort to regularize and keep track of the passage of time" (275). Isaacs concludes by noting that the three versions are emblematic of the diversity and richness of the medieval period. [CvD]

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

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