Gower Bibliography

Studies in John Gower, with Special Reference to His Words

Kanno, Masahiko. "Studies in John Gower, with Special Reference to His Words." Tokyo: Eihosha, 2007

Review

Kanno collects fifteen essays, some previously published in different form (largely in venues inaccessible outside Japan) but the majority fresh work--or work re-thought--for this volume. As his title suggests, Kanno is particularly concerned with Gower's vocabulary, in its nuances and in the ways Gower manipulated language to increase the range, depth and subtlety of his verse. Several essays go farther, beginning with words but then broadening to investigate subjects of wider interest: "Gower's Good Sense," "Gower as Pacifist," "John Gower as Humorist," "Gower's Narrative Art," "On the Sin of 'Gluttony' in John Gower's Confessio Amantis" are representative examples. Still, it is when he scrutinizes the words themselves that Kanno's learning best serves his insight. The result, especially in his chapters "'Kinde' and Related Terms in John Gower's Confessio Amantis," "An Aspect of Gower as an Innovator of Words," and "Gower's Archaic Words," is both revealing and exceptionally useful--necessary reading, one could argue, for anyone contemplating more than a passing acquaintance with Gower's English work. Or with Chaucer's, for that matter, since Gower's precedents so often illuminate Chaucer's usage as well. Nor is Kanno confined to the Middle English: throughout he includes cognates and other illuminating examples drawn from the Mirour de l'Omme and the Vox Clamantis. This range is of particular help in shedding light on "archaic" locutions, differentiating the Old English hold-overs from Anglo-French inductions--an assemblage of words that, as Kanno shows clearly, unequivocally influences the uniqueness of Gower's poetic voice. It is, in its specialized way, altogether ground-breaking work. In short, Kanno's book adds pillars and planks to the foundation on which Gower scholars of the future will build. [RFY. Copyright. The John Gower Society. JGN 28.1]

Item Type:Book
Subjects:Language and Word Studies

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