Gower Bibliography

Topical and Tropological Gower: Invoking Armenia in the Confessio Amantis

Collette, Carolyn P. "Topical and Tropological Gower: Invoking Armenia in the Confessio Amantis." In John Gower, Trilingual Poet: Language, Translation, and Tradition. Ed. Dutton, Elisabeth, and Hines, John, and Yeager, R.F. Cambridge: Brewer, 2010, pp. 35-45.

Review

Collette demonstrates that in his allusions to Armenia, Gower was able to draw upon a rich framework of topical reference in the creation of the polysemous CA. On the border between the Christian and Muslim worlds, Armenia tried to remain independent of both. The last king visited England in 1386 following his deposition, and he died in France. Armenia became "known in history and romance as an example of loss and decline" and offered "a cautionary tale for Western Europe on the failure of arms and of profit" (42). Gower evokes this history in a sequence of tales in Book 4 that begins with "Rosiphelee," who is the daughter of an Armenian king. The topicality of the story emerges in the widening of frame in the tales that follows, which are concerned with the value of deeds of arms, particularly in the struggles with the "Tartans" in which Armenia was lost. Another reference occurs in the story of "Pompey and the King of Armenia," in which the king's patient suffering echoes Philippe de Mézière's account of the trials of King Levon, and in which the outcome, the restoration of the king to his throne, matches Philippe's unrealized hopes for the deposed king. [PN. Copyright. The John Gower Society. JGN 30.1]

Item Type:Book Section
Subjects:Backgrounds and General Studies
Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Confessio Amantis

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