Gower Bibliography

Social Class in the Classroom: Gower's Estates Poetry

Lightsey, Scott. "Social Class in the Classroom: Gower's Estates Poetry." In Approaches to Teaching the Poetry of John Gower. Ed. Yeager, R. F., and Gastle, Brian W. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2011, pp. 36-41. ISBN 9781603290999


Arguing that "few writers discuss the mutually supportive roles of medieval social structure with the clarity and moral forthrightness of John Gower," Lightsey maintains that this poet "can play a vital role in providing students with a solid base in the underlying concerns upon which estates literature is founded" (36). When his approaches to social position are incorporated into larger discussions of medieveal social hierarchy, his work shines in mutual illumination among the other great poets of his time, such as Chaucer and Langland" (37). In the undergraduate classroom, Lightsey thus introduces Gower as part of a unit on Ricardian authors which includes the prologues from the "Confessio," the B text of "Piers Plowman," and the "Canterbury Tales." He supplements this reading of Gower with handouts from Stockton's translation of the "Vox" and selections from Burton Wilson's translation of the "Mirour." In the end, "to understand Gower's approach is to understand what was typical of the time, to have a baseline from which to measure the many other approaches to the genre of estates literature" (41). [Kurt Olsson. Copyright. The John Gower Society. JGN 31.1]

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

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