Gower Bibliography

'Fortune' in Gower's Confessio Amantis.

Pickford, T. E. "'Fortune' in Gower's Confessio Amantis." Parergon 7 (1973), pp. 20-29.


Pickford argues that Gower accommodates the concept of fortune to Christian teaching. Bad fortune is the result of mankind's sin. It is a general effect of the fall, rather than the result of one individual's choices. Fortune, then, "is a figurative way of expressing the observable fact that this world is a mutable world, whose outcome God foreknows and in a sense 'directs' since he has taken account of it in his overall plan for man" (24). People do have free will (as Gower shows by deciding to go boating on the Thames when he met King Richard II "par chaunce"), and the answer to the sin and division that create misfortune is love (caritas). Even Venus, a goddess very similar to Fortune, becomes a more Christian figure in Gower's work (24). Pickford ends his essay by illustrating his general argument with examples culled primarily from the CA Prologue and from the Tale of Apollonius of Tyre. Finally, he dismisses the idea that Gower's frequent use of the proverb "nede mot that nede schal" has much to do with Gower's concept of fortune. [CvD]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Confessio Amantis

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