Gower Bibliography

John Gower, poète anglo-normand: Perspectives linguistiques sur Le Myrour de l'Omme

Ingham, Richard. "John Gower, poète anglo-normand: Perspectives linguistiques sur Le Myrour de l'Omme." In Anglo-Français: Philologie et Linguistique. Ed. Floquet, Oreste and Giannini, Gabriele. Paris: Garnier, 2014, pp. 91-100. ISBN 9782812434211


This is the first of two articles (see also "'Pardonetz moi qe jeo de ceo forsvoie': Gower's Anglo-Norman Identity," co-authored with Michael Ingham) concerning whether Gower is best considered an Anglo-Norman poet or a writer of continental French. While acknowledging Gower's conscious choice of the diction and forms of contemporary French poetry, the Inghams argue that Gower's less conscious linguistic practices remain overwhelmingly insular in character. The focus in the present article is on Gower's phonology. Ingham identifies a number of features that distinguish fourteenth-century Anglo-Norman French from contemporary French of the continent in which Gower followed insular practice, among them, the rhyming of words such as "jours" and "fleurs" (which Gower spells "flours"), the rhyming of words such as "lieus" and "perdus," the rhyming of words such as "ligne" and "famine," and the preservation of the distinction, lost in continental French, between "–an" and "–en." In one respect, Gower follows continental usage, in adopting the /oi/ pronunciation for words that had /ei/ in Anglo-Norman, a choice that Ingham attributes to the necessity for rhyming words imposed by the stanza forms that Gower used. In sum, Ingham finds no evidence of an effort on Gower's part to reform his language to make it more acceptable to a those more familiar with continental French. Ingham also cites some grammatical features in support of this conclusion; these are superseded and in one respect corrected by the co-authored article. [PN. Copyright. The John Gower Society. eJGN 34.2.]

Item Type:Book Section
Subjects:Language and Word Studies
Style, Rhetoric, and Versification

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