Gower Bibliography

The Mediaeval Sciences in the Works of John Gower

Fox, George G. "The Mediaeval Sciences in the Works of John Gower." Princeton: Princeton UP, 1931

Review

Fox compares Gower's scientific knowledge to that of his contemporaries and finds him wanting. For instance, Chaucer shows "eager curiosity and extensive learning in the sciences" (156), whereas Gower is more of an amateur. Gower's scientific passages have the feel of a popular encyclopedia (like the Tresor), for which one needed only a "literary facility, the ability to express one's thought in pleasing fancy" (157). At times Gower explains his subject matter quite well (e.g., alchemy), whereas at other times he is out of his depth. In fact, Gower's astrology is particularly poor and there is "no reason to believe that Gower could have used an astrolabe or cast a horoscope" (156). In chapter one (titled the introduction), Fox reviews Gower's general attitude to science. Gower sees all knowledge as aiming for a better understanding of God. This also leads him to connect science with a broad understanding of "kinde" as both nature and kindness. For the CA this means that Gower closely examines sexual desire, and while he finds its fulfillment in marriage, he is not a prude (8). The chapter ends with a discussion of fortune. Fox concludes that Gower is not fatalistic, but that fortune is “a manner of speech with Gower, a convenient phrase for an element of human experience

Item Type:Book
Additional Information:Rpt. New York: Haskell House, 1966.
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Backgrounds and General Studies
Confessio Amantis
Mirour de l’Omme (Speculum Meditantis)

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