Gower Bibliography

Gower's Triple Tongue (2): Teaching the 'Balades'

Yeager, R. F. "Gower's Triple Tongue (2): Teaching the 'Balades'." 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. 100-03. ISBN 9781603290999

Review

Of Gower's two French "balade" collections, the "Cinkante balades" represent "the sole examples known of sequentially linked poems written by an Englishman, in English or French, before Philip Sidney's sonnet sequence 'Astrophil and Stella'" (100); the eighteen "balades" of "Traitié pour essampler les amantz marietz," on the other hand, "are topically, not narratively, connected: all are concerned to establish the nature and role of sanctified marriage, most particularly by warding off adultery" (100). These collections together "furnish a solid keystone for fruitful discussions of late medieval multilingualism and an across-the-channel aesthetic and intellectual influence and exchange," particularly with poets of the stature of Guillaume de Machaut and Eustache Deschamps. The "Cinkante balades" can enrich discussions of medieval love poetry and its legacy; they are well-crafted poems and many "can be amusing, even moving, in their depiction of affairs of the heart" (100). As with the poems of the "Traitié," their short length makes them particularly adaptable to the syllabi of surveys. The "Traitié" in several of its aspects invites comparison with the "Confessio Amantis," which it follows in many manuscripts: it contains, in capsule form, a number of exempla also appearing in the "Confessio," including, for instance, the stories of Hercules and Deineira and of Tereus and Progne, and like the "Confessio," it is presented with Latin prose commentaries in the margins. It should be noted finally that the "Traitié" and the "Cinkante balades" are available, with translations, in an inexpensive TEAMS edition. [Kurt Olsson. Copyright. The John Gower Society. JGN 31.1]

Item Type:Book Section
Subjects:Language and Word Studies
Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Cinkante Balades
Traité pour Essampler les Amants Marietz

Gower Bibliography Editors Only: edit metadata