Gower Bibliography

Gower’s Beast Allegories in the 1391 Visio Anglie.

Carlson, David R. "Gower’s Beast Allegories in the 1391 Visio Anglie." Philological Quarterly 87 (2008), pp. 257-75. ISSN 0031-7977


The Visio Anglie that constitutes the first book of "Vox Clamantis" depicts the peasants as beasts in two not entirely consistent senses, Carlson explains. In the vision itself, the dreamer sees not humans but beasts of burden which are then transformed into monstrous versions of themselves. The representation of the peasants as beasts, Carlson points out, was a widespread topos serving to justify their repression and servitude, while in fact also representing the daily conditions under which they lived. The second trope is found in the prose heading to the Visio and in the verse that precedes the beginning of the dream, which Carlson suggests were added after the fact. Here Gower “apologetically mitigates his chief metaphor

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Vox Clamantis

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