Gower Bibliography

Controlling the Uncontrollable: Love and Fortune in Book I of the 'Confessio Amantis'

Schieberle, Misty. "Controlling the Uncontrollable: Love and Fortune in Book I of the 'Confessio Amantis'." ES: Revista de Filología Inglesa 33.1 (2012), pp. 81-96. ISSN 0210-9689


Schieberle finds the definition of Gower's ethical project in the "Confessio" in the passages in the Prologue that link political stability to the proper pursuit of love and in the lines that proclaim that "That we fortune clepe so / Out of man himself it groweth" (Prol. 548-49). Contrary to the notion that both Love and Fortune exercise their power uncontrollably and arbitrarily (as depicted in their "wheels"), Gower asserts man's power to control both, Schieberle argues, through the exercise of virtue in both the amatory and the political realms. For illustration, she cites the tales in Book I in which virtuous conduct is rewarded and vice is punished (as one would expect to find in a moral exemplum), even in the case of love. Schieberle traces this "anti-Boethian" view to Machaut, who also demonstrates, particularly in the "Remede de Fortune," the benefits that derive to those who practice virtue. (Others have argued that Machaut's views are quite consistent with Boethius', since he depicts Hope, like the practice of virtue, as constituting in itself a sufficient reward.) [Copyright. The John Gower Society. JGN 32.1]

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This special issue of ES is also titled "Gower in Context(s): Scribal, Linguistic, Literary and Socio-historical Readings," edited by Laura Filardo-Llamas, Brian Gastle, Marta Gutiérrez Rodríguez, and Ana Saez-Hidalgo.
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Confessio Amantis

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