Gower Bibliography

Conjuring Gower in 'Pericles'

Driver, Martha W. "Conjuring Gower in 'Pericles'." In John Gower, Trilingual Poet: Language, Translation, and Tradition. Ed. Dutton, Elisabeth, and Hines, John, and Yeager, R.F. Cambridge: Brewer, 2010, pp. 315-25.


Driver considers Gower's afterlife in the form of the choric figure in Shakespeare's "Pericles." The play itself, she notes, draws upon both Gower's "Apollonius of Tyre" and his "Constance." Shakespeare's choice to cast Gower and never to give more than a passing reference to Chaucer stems from their respective reputations in Shakespeare's day and may reflect either Shakespeare's own Roman Catholic leanings (the evidence for which Driver surveys) or Gower's reputation as a moral teacher. It is as teacher that Gower is most commonly portrayed in modern productions, though sometimes without reference to his real biography. Driver gives greatest attention to a 2004 production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in which Gower was portrayed by an actress, Brenda Wehle. The resulting shift of focus to the agency of the female characters in the play, Driver maintains, is not inconsistent either with the story or with its original setting in CA, which "in some sixty-five stories celebrates women's strength, power, patience under adversity and in some cases their resistance to culturally constructed gender roles" (324). [PN. Copyright. The John Gower Society. JGN 30.1]

Item Type:Book Section
Subjects:Influence and Later Allusion

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