John Gower in England and Iberia: Manuscripts, Influences, Reception

Sáez-Hidalgo, Ana, and R. F. Yeager, eds.

John Gower in England and Iberia: Manuscripts, Influences, Reception

Sáez-Hidalgo, Ana, and R. F. Yeager, eds. "John Gower in England and Iberia: Manuscripts, Influences, Reception." Publications of the John Gower Society, 10 . Cambridge, UK: D. S.Brewer, 2014 ISBN 9781843843207

This superb volume collects nineteen scholarly essays based on papers delivered to the Second International Congress of the John Gower Society, held in 2011 in Valladolid, Spain. Its most original offerings concern Gower's under-examined connections with the Iberian Peninsula. These resulted from migration of a copy of CA to Portugal--probably by way of John of Gaunt's daughter, Philippa, who between 1387 and 1415 was Portugal's queen--and subsequent translation of Gower's English poem into Portuguese and then Castilian Spanish. Mauricio Herrero Jiménez's "Castilian Script in Iberian Manuscripts of the Confessio Amantis" compares the types of professional Gothic book-hands used in copying Madrid, Real Biblioteca MS II-3088, the Portuguese "Livro do Amante," and Madrid, El Escorial Library MS g-II-19, the Spanish "Confysion del Amante." Each manuscript was made for private, noble readers who sought in Gower's poem "a model of ethical and political education and/or romantic diversion" (22)--that is, lore and lust. A Castilian table of contents added to the Portuguese codex and the conjoining of parts of two copies in the Spanish one, the author argues, indicates a wider audience for the Ca in Iberia than two surviving manuscripts suggest. María Luisa López-Vidriero Abelló's "Provenance Interlacing in Spanish Royal Book-Collecting" focuses on the Portuguese codex in the Spanish Royal Library. She describes its movement there from the private collection of Count Gondomar, an ambassador of Philip III of Spain to the court of James I of England, who himself acquired it from Luis de Castilla, son of a dean of Toledo Cathedral, whose humanist leanings link Gower's English work with high Iberian culture. In a more speculative vein, David R. Carlson connects a letter sent by the Black Prince from the Battle of Nájera, where Edward and John of Gaunt allied in 1367 with Pedro of Castile against his brother, with propagandist features of Gower's "Cronica Tripertita" in praise of the English usurper, Henry IV, while Fernando Galván investigates how the same battle established a nexus between England, Castile, and Portugal that led to the arrival of the CA in Iberia. R. F. Yeager suggests the influence of Pedro Alfonso's twelfth-century anthology of fables, "Disciplina Clericalis," on Gower's "Tale of the Three Questions," for which an exact source has yet to be identified, while Tiago Viúla de Faria proposes, against the prevailing hypothesis of a royal avenue for the CA's progress to Iberia, an ecclesiastical one--Henry Despenser, bishop of Norwich, who had "strong and enduring" (136) associations with Philippa of Lancaster. The poet who emerges from John Gower in England and Iberia is a more sophisticated and bracing figure than even Gower aficionados have hitherto acknowledged: global in his appeal, erudite in his textual practices, and refreshingly secular in his aesthetic concerns. [MPK. Copyright. The John Gower Society. eJGN 34.1]


Gower Subjects
Backgrounds and General Studies
Facsimiles, Editions, and Translations
Manuscripts and Textual Studies
Confessio Amantis
Cronica Tripertita