Gower Bibliography

Gower's Business: Artistic Production of Cultural Capital and the Tale of Florent

Gastle, Brian. "Gower's Business: Artistic Production of Cultural Capital and the Tale of Florent." In John Gower, Trilingual Poet: Language, Translation, and Tradition. Ed. Dutton, Elisabeth, and Hines, John, and Yeager, R.F. Cambridge: Brewer, 2010, pp. 182-95.

Review

Gastle finds a "mercantile undercurrent" and a preoccupation with "the artistic production of cultural capital" (183) in Gower's reference to his own "besynesse" in the different versions of the CA Prologue, in the poet's comparison of his own work to that of bees in the accompanying marginal note in some MSS, and in the setting of the first version, with its account of Gower's encounter with Richard II on the Thames, the "economic and political centre" (183) of medieval London. He also sees Gower's tale of Florent as an "education in marital commodification" that is "an extension of the interest in artistic work as labour delineated in the Prologue" (189), an interest that was recognized by Chaucer and extended, not just in WBT, which "plays out its narrator's anxiety regarding trade, women's role in economic activity and, perhaps most importantly, conjugal debt" (190), but also in the portrait of the Wife of Bath herself, whose "body is commodified through her five marriages" (190). Both poets' tales, while adhering in varying degrees to the conventions of romance, represent a late medieval "intrusion of fiscal reality upon courtly ideals" (194). [PN. Copyright. The John Gower Society. JGN 30.1]

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

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