Final -e in Gower's and Chaucer's Monosyllabic Premodifying Adjectives: A Grammatical/Metrical Analysis.

Author/Editor
Werthmüller, Gyöngyi.

Title
Final -e in Gower's and Chaucer's Monosyllabic Premodifying Adjectives: A Grammatical/Metrical Analysis.

Published
Werthmüller, Gyöngyi. "Final -e in Gower's and Chaucer's Monosyllabic Premodifying Adjectives: A Grammatical/Metrical Analysis." In Approaches to Middle English: Variation, Contact and Change, ed. Juan Camillo Conde-Silvestre and Javier Calle-Martín (Frankfurt-am-Main: Peter Lang, 2015), 179-97. ISBN: 9783631655153.

Review
Werthmüller seeks to "highlight some hitherto neglected details about the presence, but mostly about the absence of the -e" (179) in word-finally positioned monosyllabic adjectives in Middle English. Her analysis focuses on the CA, accessed through Macaulay's edition. The "Canterbury Tales" are used as a point of comparison. In addition to scansion, the study makes use of grammatical (adjectival inflection) and lexical (etymology, word-formation) evidence. Based on her critical scrutiny of potential instances of the apocope (omission) of the unstressed final-e in adjective + noun structures, Werthmüller finds that this feature, "and especially unconditioned [purely metrical] apocope, is virtually non-existent in the Confessio" (188). Hence, "Gower's grammar and metre is highly regular . . . even more regular than has been considered" (195). The findings include useful observations on distinguishing premodifying adjectives from adjective-noun compounds (such as the compound trew man, 192–194). Werthmüller concludes with the observation that "[v]ery little linguistic interest has been expressed so far towards Gower" (195). She emphasizes that "[i]t would be highly important to give him the linguistic attention that his contribution to the English language and literature deserves." (195). The lines of the CA discussed in the study comprise Macaulay's I. 680, 2479; II. 295, 660, 2341; III. 300, 301, 889, 900, 2346; IV. 2064; V. 1323-1324, 2877, 3009, 4627, 6155, 7391; VI. 707, 1501, 2049, 4702, 4791, 4976; VII.1640, 2560. [MP. Copyright. The John Gower Society. eJGN 38.1.]

Date
2015

Gower Subjects
Style and Versification
Language and Word Studies
Confessio Amantis
Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations