Cover

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Title Page, About the Series, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

...The research for this book began in 1996, and in the ensuing years I have incurred many debts. It is impossible for me to name everyone with whom I have discussed ideas and problems related to this project. Nevertheless, special mention...

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A Note on the Texts

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pp. ix-x

...recensions. He uses Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Fairfax 3, which he labels a third recension manuscript, as his base text. Using a split page format, he also includes variant lines from the first recension of the...

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Preface

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pp. xi-xviii

...From the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance and beyond, writing in the vernacular has been associated with daring intellectual experimentation. At around the same time as Geoffrey Chaucer began work...

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Introduction: Social Gower

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pp. 1-18

...birth is generally dated to 1330 or thereabouts. He may have been born in Yorkshire, but was brought up in Kent and West Suffolk. His social background was similar to Chaucer’s in that he was from an affluent...

PART I: Language

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1. Gower’s Babel Tower: Language Choice and the Grammar of Sex

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pp. 21-37

...broader investigation of the gender politics implicit in Gower’s poetry. Gower wrote substantial works in Anglo-Norman and Latin before turning to the vernacular. Here I will argue that, within Gower’s corpus as...

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2. Writing Like a Man: Rhetoric and Genealogy

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pp. 38-60

...In one of the best-known passages of Inferno, Dante unexpectedly encounters the Florentine magistrate, rhetorician, and poet Brunetto Latini amongst the sodomites in the innermost ring of the seventh circle...

PART II: Sex

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3. Transgressive Genders and Subversive Sexualities

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pp. 63-81

...while in orthodox Christian thought the soul itself was held to be sexless, the penitential literature of the Middle Ages was gendered: it was written by and primarily for men. As Jacqueline Murray has explained...

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4. Sexual Chaos and Sexual Sin

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pp. 82-104

...However, in many other respects, my reading is in accordance with that of Lochrie and supports her succinct summary of the relationship between sexual politics and sexual ethics in the text...

PART III: Politics

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5. Tyranny, Reform, and Self-Government

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pp. 107-126

...poem’s origin, and of its intentions. This is followed by a discussion of the decline of the world, which focuses on the corruption of each of the estates in turn: those who govern, the church, and the commons...

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6. Oedipus, Apollonius, and Richard II

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pp. 127-148

...and lover are shocked by the recognition of what the latter is, or at any rate what he has become. Like the poet, Amans is now old, decrepit, and almost blind. Shortly afterwards, Venus holds up a mirror to his face...

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Epilogue: Ethical Gower

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pp. 149-160

...through a series of revisions (some after Henry IV’s accession), and according to Derek Pearsall, represents “his final statement concerning the content and purpose of his three major works...

Notes

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pp. 161-188

Bibliography

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pp. 189-210

Index

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pp. 211-220

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About the Author

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pp. 221-221

...Diane Watt is senior lecturer in English at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. She is the author of...