Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1A: The Middle Ages.

David, Alfred, and James Simpson, eds.

Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1A: The Middle Ages.

David, Alfred, and James Simpson, eds. "Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1A: The Middle Ages." New York: Norton, 2006

Gower finally joins the ranks of the elect: David and Simpson include an excerpt from Confessio Amantis, the tale of Tereus (5.5546-7074) in the new edition of English literature's holy canon (pp. 319-31). Their introduction briefly surveys Gower's life and works, and it offers a few comments on the structure of the poem, which culminates, in this account, in Amans' reintegration "with the psyche of which he is ideally a part." The tale that the editors reprint is the same chosen to represent CA by Derek Pearsall for his Chaucer to Spenser anthology in 1999 (see JGN 18, no. 1, 8-9). The text is based on Macaulay, but like the other examples of Middle English in the anthology, it has “been re-spelled in a way that is designed to aid the reader” (p. 15), evidently on the model of Donaldson’s edition of Chaucer, which supplies the excerpts from CT in this volume. Thus, in the first few lines, “mi” becomes “my,” “hiere” > “heere,” “enheritance” > “inheritance,” “therupon” > “thereupon,” and “douhtres” > “doughtres.” (The editors assure me that the substitution of “that” for “which” in the third line of the excerpt was inadvertent.) The introduction emphasizes the violence of the tale, in contrast to the “often pathetic, and always hopeless pursuit of Amans for his lady.” It might also have noted that Amans’ response (included in the excerpt) puts both Amans and his love for his lady in an unusually favorable light.
Students who buy the anthology will also get a password that allows one year’s access to the “Norton Literature Online” website, which includes material supplementary to the printed volume. They will find there an excerpt from the Prologue to VC describing the uprising of 1381, some excerpts from both VC and MO illustrating “Estates Satire,” and a reproduction of the drawing of Gower aiming his arrow at the world from Cotton Tiberius A.IV (actually photographed from the frontispiece to vol. 4 of Macaulay’s edition) illustrating “Medieval Estates and Orders.” [PN. Copyright. The John Gower Society. JGN 25.1.]


Gower Subjects
Facsimiles, Editions, and Translations
Confessio Amantis