Gower Bibliography

Reading the Medieval in Early Modern Monster Culture.

Patterson, Serina. "Reading the Medieval in Early Modern Monster Culture." Studies in Philology 111 (2014), pp. 282-311. ISSN 0039-3738


The anonymous pamphlet entitled "A Certaine Relation of the Hog-Faced Gentlewoman called Mistris Tannakin Skinker," published in London in 1640, includes at the end a five-page prose translation of Gower's "Tale of Florent" with full attribution to the poet. Patterson uses the pamphlet as one of two principal examples in her examination of the efforts of seventeenth-century Englishmen to use medieval "monster literature" to define their own historicity with reference to the past. "By juxtaposing, mingling, or amalgamating figures of the past with present trends, audiences, writers, and readers could effectively define a 'modernity' that was their own" (284). The inclusion of Gower's tale served a more specific purpose: with it, "the author disrupts the boundary between fact and fiction: while he employs the pamphlet as a medium typically used to report facts, his use of Gower as part of a 'true history' situates Tannakin within the realm of fiction--or, as an early modern urban loathly lady" (302), with the intention of mocking the credulity of the readers. Unlike his other sixteenth- and seventeenth-century appearances, Gower here "is no longer simply a tale-teller or antiquarian but rather an active agent in the production and dissemination of the concept of the 'modern monstrous'--a performative category that intersects a complex web of social anxiety, domesticity, and print culture" (305). [PN. Copyright. The John Gower Society. eJGN 34.2.]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Facsimiles, Editions, and Translations
Influence and Later Allusion
Confessio Amantis

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