Gower Bibliography

The Ovidian Comic Strategy of Gower's 'Confessio Amantis'

Hiscoe, David W. "The Ovidian Comic Strategy of Gower's 'Confessio Amantis'." Philological Quarterly 64 (1985), pp. 367-85. ISSN 0031-7977


Like Ovid in his "Metamorphoses," Gower creates comedy in CA by manipulating traditional stories and their presentation. Hiscoe examines the authors' versions of the Ceyx and Alcyone story as examples of their comic, ironic techniques, and argues that Gower was aware of his place in a literary "chain of wisdom," modifying and adapting Ovid methods to the late-medieval context. Where Ovid's alterations of traditional details, tone, and perspective deflate love and thereby encourage readers to "evade rhetorical manipulation," Gower presents Genius as ignorant of the moral and spiritual allegorizations that were part of the medieval interpretive tradition of the "Ovide Moralisé" and, as a result, he depicts his "priest of love" as humorously insensitive to the Christian messages that inform his stories. Indeed, in his version of Ceyx and Alcyone, Genius is guilty of spiritual sloth when he tells the tale merely as an exemplum against Sloth and obscures its message of redemption. [MA]

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

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