Gower Bibliography

Chaucer and Ricardian Politics

Sanderlin, S.. "Chaucer and Ricardian Politics." Chaucer Review 22 (1988), pp. 171-84. ISSN 0009-2002


Sanderlin summarizes what can be inferred about the relation between Chaucer's documented life and the political events of the last decade and a half of the fourteenth century, and refers to Gower in the context of a discussion of the change of dynasty in 1399: "John Gower, of course, had some years earlier cut his ties with Richard and was dedicating his works to Henry. Whether this was from his dislike of Lollards (who were tolerated in Richard's court and who had nailed their 'Twelve Conclusions' to the door of Westminster Hall in 1395) or from some other reason apparently is a subject for dispute but little information" (p. 181). The only support cited is Fisher (1964:121-24), who is rather more cautious about Gower "cutting his ties" with the king, and who makes no mention of the Lollards; there is evidently some chronological uncertainty here, moreover, since the change of dedication on which Gower's putative change in sentiment is based is usually dated to 1393. The real value of Sanderlin's essay lies elsewhere, in its account of how circumspectly Chaucer acted during the political crises of the time, with its implication of how imprudent and unlikely it would have been for a commoner to meddle directly in the friction between Richard and his lords. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 8.2]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Biography of Gower

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