Gower Bibliography

Bisherige Ergebnisse und Weitere Aufgaben der Gower-Forschung

Spies, Heinrich. "Bisherige Ergebnisse und Weitere Aufgaben der Gower-Forschung." Englische Studien 28 (1900), pp. 163-208.

Review

Spies' overview of the state of Gower scholarship came out nearly simultaneously with Macaulay's magisterial edition of Gower's works, and there is indeed significant overlap between the two scholars' work. Spies first traces the history of Gower's reception, from the initially favorable praise of Gower (and his inclusion in a literary triumvirate with Chaucer and Lydgate) to the increasingly more critical stance of later criticism. Despite Spies' fairly exhaustive summary he believes there must be many more references to Gower yet undiscovered (170). He also mentions some newly found allusions that illustrate, for example, that more research might be done to link Gower's work to particular families (e.g., the Bohun family) that kept his MSS as valued heirlooms (171, 178-79). Spies turns briefly to the Castilian and Portuguese translations (171) and to the biographies of Gower (he finds Reinhold Pauli's best), before stating the need for an edition of all the references and allusions to Gower in later authors. He then brings his own list of references up to date before focusing primarily on the work of Pauli, Meyer, and Macaulay. He argues (contra Meyer) that each recension of the CA had its origin prior to 1399 when Richard II was deposed (175-77) and that Gower was not spineless or self-serving in relation to the king. In fact, Gower was not afraid to be critical because he held his country in more esteem than his king ("Das vaterland stand unserem dichter höher als die person des königs"; 178). Spies also dedicates some pages to Gower's French and Latin works. Among other things, he suggests that the MO should actually be given its Latin title, since that is how Gower referred to it, and he criticizes Macaulay's lack of rigour in collating MSS of the Traitie (180). After a mention of Gower's shorter English poems, Spies' article turns to the editions of the CA. He criticizes Reinhold Pauli for his eclectic editorial choices and he finds Henry Morley guilty both for following Pauli's text unscrupulously and for being too populist (when Gower will never be very popular). Next follow brief summations of collections that include individual narratives from the CA (183-84), of collations (like Easton's inadequate Readings in Gower), and of relevant 19th century scholarship (particularly source studies). Most of the remaining pages of Spies' articles are taken up by a descriptive catalogue of CA MSS and some final reflections on the differences between the three recensions. Spies argues that Gower generally oversaw later changes and he notes that the MSS in group A should be split in two sections since a number of them show significant similarities with the B and Stafford version. Although Gower's alterations are generally light, Spies does believe that the scholarly world would benefit from another edition of a good base text to accompany Macaulay's admirable work. [CvD]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Confessio Amantis
Influence and Later Allusion
Bibliographies, Reports, and Reference
Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
In Praise of Peace
Vox Clamantis
Biography of Gower
Traité pour Essampler les Amants Marietz
Manuscripts and Textual Studies
Mirour de l’Omme (Speculum Meditantis)

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