Gower Bibliography

Gower's Ironic Self-Portrait in the Confessio Amantis

Cowling, Samuel T. "Gower's Ironic Self-Portrait in the Confessio Amantis." Annuale Mediaevale 16 (1975), pp. 63-70.


Cowling traces the development of Amans's character in the CA from a general personification of "loving" to a complex psychological persona for Gower the poet. At the outset Amans is confused about love, and has trouble identifying his role in Venus's court. Gradually he "acquires a genius of his own" (66), and starts to think more critically. When he writes his verse complaint to Venus and Cupid in Book 8 he has become a poet, and so where he once was mostly a type of the lover, he has now been individualized as Gower specifically. To highlight the resulting complexity of representation, Cowling points out the ways in which the narrative becomes increasingly a parody of the Bible (e.g., Venus acts as Mary). In addition, Cowling highlights a number of ironies resulting from Gower's creation of a persona. Most importantly, Amans ends up denying the very religion of love that Gower the poet has created. [CvD]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Confessio Amantis

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