Gower Bibliography

A Peculiar Feature in the Word-Order of Gower's Confessio Amantis

Iwasaki, Haruo. "A Peculiar Feature in the Word-Order of Gower's Confessio Amantis." Studies in English Literature 45 (1969), pp. 205-220.


Iwasaki points out that in Gower's English syntax "part of a subordinate clause may precede the connective" (205). By "connective" Iwasaki means conjunctions and relatives. As an example we may take the following lines: "Sche bad Yris hir Messagere / To Slepes hous that she schal wende" (4.2972-73). In the second line, the adverbial phase "To Slepes hous" precedes the connective "that." This type of inversion is quite common in the CA and even parts of a sentence that begin with "and" or "bot" may have their order reversed. Macaulay often correctly points out how a line should be construed, but neither he nor the original scribes are always consistent with how they punctuate such inversions. Gower's principal motivation for using this peculiar word order was likely to maintain the iambic rhythm of the line. [CvD]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Style, Rhetoric, and Versification
Confessio Amantis

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