Gower Bibliography

Hearing Gower's Rhetoric

Donavin, Georgiana. "Hearing Gower's Rhetoric." 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. 77-82. ISBN 9781603290999


Donavin in teaching Gower seeks to evaluate his "voice" in the "Confessio Amantis" by means of medieval composition theory. In particular, she approaches the poem by studying Gower's invention ("the power of suggestion in Richard's II's commission of the poem and the formation of content through resources" [79]), arrangement (particularly "the context for each tale provided by the confessional frame" [80]), and style (specifically the commitment to "the superiority of plain speech" [81]). Gower's narrative voice in speaking directly to the reader in the prologue to the CA "shatters into a variety of speakers who utter their lines in a variety of tones and languages," and "students are eager to sort out some reasons for these vacillations in narrative voice. Review of the Rethorique section in CA, book 7, and of some basic principles of Ciceronian orations promote the understanding that invention, arrangement, and style are rhetorical offices that solicit, confine, and characterize the poet's voice" (81-82). [Kurt Olsson. Copyright. The John Gower Society. JGN 31.1]

Item Type:Book Section
Subjects:Style, Rhetoric, and Versification
Confessio Amantis

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