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«Betwene Ernest and Game»

The Literary Artistry of the "Confessio Amantis</I>


Alexandra Hennessey Olsen

This study of the Confessio Amantis by the fourteenth-century poet John Gower uses linguistic and structuralist techniques to assess aspects of the literary artistry of a great but neglected poem. It posits that Dante's Vita Nuova is an analogue that helps us understand the structure of the Confessio and that the Confessio is carefully ordered to promote love, both amor and caritas. The book discusses puns and rimes équivoques as aspects of Gower's literary artistry and residual elements of oral tradition in the Tale of Appolinus of Tyre. It concludes with a reconsideration of the relationship of the narrative materials shared by Gower and his contemporary Chaucer with a view to correcting biases concerning the relative merits of the two poets.
Contents: Structural/linguistic analysis of Gower's Confessio Amantis - Comparison to analogue, Dante's Vita Nuova - Analysis of Gower's use of puns and rimes équivoques - Study of the oral-formulaid roots of the Tale of Appolinus - Re-evalution of the literary relationship of Gower and Chauder.