Gower Bibliography

The Genius Figure in Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Nitzsche, Jane Chance. "The Genius Figure in Antiquity and the Middle Ages." New York: Columbia University Press, 1975 ISBN 0231038526

Review

Nitzsche's survey of the Genius figure touches on Gower as the last link in a chain of medieval adaptations. After reviewing the Geniuses of Bernardus Silvestris, Alanus de Insulis (Alain of Lille) and Jean de Meun, Nitzsche turns to the CA. Gower's Genius "appears to be an Orpheus figure who wishes to rescue Euridice (concupiscence, or Amans) from the underworld of demonic and disruptive love fantasy" (128). Gower's poem is original in having Amans, not Natura, complain to Venus. It also "offers the most optimistic view of the problem of sin and its solution" (133). Amans is able to move from the Venus of courtly love or lust to the Venus of "caritas" (132). By doing so he becomes a poet, an artificer, a role frequently associated with Genius. [CvD]

Item Type:Book
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Confessio Amantis

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