Gower Bibliography

Confessio Auctoris: Confessional Poetics and Authority in the Literature of Late Medieval England, 1350-1450

Lee, Jenny Veronica. "Confessio Auctoris: Confessional Poetics and Authority in the Literature of Late Medieval England, 1350-1450." PhD thesis, Northwestern University, 2013.

Review

"The sacramental and legal discourses of confession--penance and inquisition--were reinforced by the Church in 1215 on a grand scale and became central to the Church's project of regulating Christian moral codes and behaviors in both the public and private spheres. In the centuries following, however, the applications of these discourses moved beyond ecclesiastical boundaries and into the fields of cultural production. Contributing to a more nuanced understanding of this movement, my dissertation argues that confession transformed the development of vernacular literary consciousness in late medieval England. In my analyses of works by Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, William Langland, Thomas Usk, and Thomas Hoccleve, I demonstrate that these writers synthesized confessional elements from various traditions, including the religious, legal, and erotic, to explore contemporary issues, challenge traditional literary authority based in Latinity, and--most importantly--authorize their own literary productions. In this dissertation, I contend that we cannot properly understand the history of English literature without acknowledging the central role of confession and the confessional authorial voice in the establishment of the English vernacular tradition." [JGN 33.1].

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Dissertation Abstracts International (74:2): Aug. 2013
Subjects:Backgrounds and General Studies

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