Gower Bibliography

A Tale of Wonder: A Source Study of the Wife of Bath's Tale

Eisner, Sigmund. "A Tale of Wonder: A Source Study of the Wife of Bath's Tale." Wexford, Ireland: John English, 1957


Eisner's book is primarily a source study of Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale, but he includes a chapter on Gower's Tale of Florent. Both stories are traced back (somewhat independently) to Irish myth and legend in which the loathly lady stood for the sovereignty of Ireland. This material was "elaborated in Wales, was carried by the bilingual Bretons to France and thence to Norman England" (15). Gower's version is very close to Chaucer's, but differs in including the following four motifs: "the stepmother who has enchanted the heroine, the hero who is identified as a nephew of his emperor, the choice offered the hero, and the anger displayed by Branchus's grandmother when Florent returned with the correct answer" (65). Especially the fact that Florent is the nephew of the emperor shows that the source text likely had Gawain as the hero and so belongs to the Matter of Britain. [CvD]

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

Gower Bibliography Editors Only: edit metadata