By Diane Watt

ISBN-10: 0816640289

ISBN-13: 9780816640287

"Moral Gower" he used to be known as by means of pal and someday rival Geoffrey Chaucer, and his Confessio Amantis has been considered as an basic research of the universe, combining erotic narratives with moral assistance and political remark. Diane Watt bargains the 1st sustained studying of John Gower's Confessio to argue that this early vernacular textual content deals no genuine strategies to the moral difficulties it raises-and in reality actively encourages "perverse" readings. Drawing on a mix of queer and feminist thought, moral feedback, and psychoanalytic, historicist, and textual feedback, Watt makes a speciality of the language, intercourse, and politics in Gower's writing. How, she asks, is Gower's Confessio regarding modern controversies over vernacular translation and debates approximately language politics? How is Gower's therapy of rhetoric and language gendered and sexualized, and what bearing does this have at the moral and political constitution of the textual content? what's the courting among the erotic, moral, and political sections of Confessio Amantis? Watt demonstrates that Gower engaged within the type of severe pondering as a rule linked to Chaucer and William Langland whilst that she contributes to fashionable debates in regards to the ethics of feedback. Diane Watt is senior lecturer in English on the college of Wales, Aberystwyth.

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Extra info for Amoral Gower: Language, Sex, and Politics

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This has important ramifications. 47 According to Gaunt, Jean de Meun deliberately fosters grammatical (and consequently sexual) indeterminacy, creating tensions between the literal and allegorical narratives of homoerotic and heterosexual desire and relishing the contradictions within his text. Gower employs a similar strategy in Confessio Amantis. But one caveat must be kept in mind, and that is that Gower never actually mentions sodomy in this long poem about love and its perversions. Indeed, as we will see in Chapter 3, he sometimes goes to some lengths to avoid the subject.

This would not however have prevented him feeling a certain unease, as well as an excitement about his own vernacular translations (susceptible G o w e r’ s B a b e l T o w e r as they are to perverse readings). This was not only because they seemed an appropriate—the appropriate—medium for examining humankind’s sinful and sexual state, but also because on some level he was aware that such linguistic sport has its own disruptive force. 85). 37 2 Writing Like a Man Rhetoric and Genealogy T Dante, Brunetto Latini, and Gower 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 of Hell.

84–85; “‘when in the world you taught me early and late / the art by which man grows eternal’”). In other words, Dante is indebted to Latini for his instruction in the art of poetry. 2 Certainly there is reason to think that Latini’s transgression may be more complex than it appears at first. 3 Although Dante classifies sodomy as a species of violence against God (placing it alongside blasphemy and usury),4 it may be no coincidence that Latini’s companions in suffering are all notable litterati, scholars for whom the love of learning was of paramount importance.

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