"'Moral' Gower and the Rejection of Alexander.

Author/Editor
Stone, Charles Russell.

Title
"'Moral' Gower and the Rejection of Alexander.

Published
Stone, Charles Russell. "'Moral' Gower and the Rejection of Alexander." In From Tyrant to Philosopher-King: A Literary History of Alexander the Great in Medieval and Early Modern England (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), pp. 141–63.

Review
Included as Chapter 5 in a book-length study on the recovery of classical histories of Alexander the Great in twelfth- to seventeenth-century England, Stone's chapter on Gower examines the portrayal of Alexander to trace the evolution of the poet's ideas about the causes and ramifications of the collapse of Alexander's empire through his three major works. Stone demonstrates that whereas Gower represents Alexander as the victim of Fortune's whims in the MO, he gravitates toward a more "historical" view of Alexander in his subsequent works, ascribing his fall to his lack of self-control and his failure to heed Aristotle's teaching. As Gower looks more deeply into the question of moral culpability, he also pays increasing attention to the magnitude of the suffering that the conqueror caused through his incessant pursuit of personal gain. Stone argues that in thus presenting Alexander as a paradigm of misguided and destructive rule, Gower's poems reject the positive conceptions of the conqueror found in the romance tradition and align themselves instead with such twelfth-century monastic texts as the St Albans Compilation, the first compendium of classical sources on the history of the Macedonian Empire, produced, like Gower's later works, in an era of political unrest. [YK. Copyright. The John Gower Society. eJGN 36.1]

Date
2013

Gower Subjects
Mirour de l’Omme (Speculum Meditantis)
Vox Clamantis
Confessio Amantis