Gower Bibliography

Ricardian Poetry: Chaucer, Gower, Langland and the Gawain Poet

Burrow, J. A. "Ricardian Poetry: Chaucer, Gower, Langland and the Gawain Poet." London: Routledge, 1971

Review

Burrow's study of the hallmarks of Ricardian poetry makes frequent reference to Gower. Such typical features as "pointing," personification, a predilection for narrative, the exemplary mode, and the enclosure of poetic material in a framed story -- these are all amply illustrated by examples from Gower. For example, Gower shows "felicity, wit, and even profundity" (83) in his application of morals to his stories. What generally sets Gower apart is his style, which Burrow, in the tradition of Warton, Macaulay, and Lewis, calls "Augustan." In other words, at his best Gower writes in a plain style that is "free from constraint or stiffness, smooth and without a trace of effort" (29). Yet Gower's fastidiousness and desire for correctness also meant that his style frequently became "threadbare" (31), and thus Burrows concludes, "It is as if the English language was not yet rich enough to support the sacrifices which an exclusive doctrine of correctness demands" (31-32). [CvD]

Item Type:Book
Subjects:Style, Rhetoric, and Versification
Confessio Amantis
Influence and Later Allusion

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