In this Book

University of Minnesota Press
summary
“Moral Gower” he was called by friend and sometime rival Geoffrey Chaucer, and his “Confessio Amantis” has been viewed as an uncomplicated analysis of the universe, combining erotic narratives with ethical guidance and political commentary. Diane Watt offers the first sustained reading of John Gower’s “Confessio” to argue that this early vernacular text offers no real solutions to the ethical problems it raises—and in fact actively encourages perverse readings.

Drawing on a combination of queer and feminist theory, ethical criticism, and psychoanalytic, historicist, and textual criticism, Watt focuses on the language, sex, and politics in Gower’s writing. How, she asks, is Gower’s “Confessio” related to contemporary controversies over vernacular translation and debates about language politics? How is Gower’s treatment of rhetoric and language gendered and sexualized, and what bearing does this have on the ethical and political structure of the text? What is the relationship between the erotic, ethical, and political sections of “Confessio Amantis”? Watt demonstrates that Gower engaged in the sort of critical thinking more commonly associated with Chaucer and William Langland at the same time that she contributes to modern debates about the ethics of criticism.


Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, About the Series, Copyright
  2. pp. i-iv
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. A Note on the Texts
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xi-xviii
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  1. Introduction: Social Gower
  2. pp. 1-18
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  1. PART I: Language
  2. pp. 19-20
  1. 1. Gower’s Babel Tower: Language Choice and the Grammar of Sex
  2. pp. 21-37
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  1. 2. Writing Like a Man: Rhetoric and Genealogy
  2. pp. 38-60
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  1. PART II: Sex
  2. pp. 61-62
  1. 3. Transgressive Genders and Subversive Sexualities
  2. pp. 63-81
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  1. 4. Sexual Chaos and Sexual Sin
  2. pp. 82-104
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  1. PART III: Politics
  2. pp. 105-106
  1. 5. Tyranny, Reform, and Self-Government
  2. pp. 107-126
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  1. 6. Oedipus, Apollonius, and Richard II
  2. pp. 127-148
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  1. Epilogue: Ethical Gower
  2. pp. 149-160
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 161-188
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 189-210
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 211-220
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  1. About the Author
  2. pp. 221-221
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780816694129
Related ISBN
9780816640287
MARC Record
OCLC
191952574
Pages
240
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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