'Rex Celi Deus': John Gower's Heavenly Missive.

Donavin, Georgiana.

'Rex Celi Deus': John Gower's Heavenly Missive.

Donavin, Georgiana. "'Rex Celi Deus': John Gower's Heavenly Missive." In Public Declamations: Essays on Medieval Rhetoric, Education, and Letters in Honour of Martin Camargo. Ed. Georgiana Donavin and Denise Stodola. Turnhout: Brepols, 2015. Pp. 103-23.

Donavin outlines the argument of her essay in its opening paragraph, as follows: "'Rex Celi Deus' is a poem of fifty-six lines written in 1399 to celebrate Henry IV's ascent to England's throne after the deposition of Richard II. There John Gower forges an innovative conjunction of epistolary and musical conventions, as he combines structures and strategies taught in "dictamen" (instruction on prose letters) with the singing of a popular hymn… 'Celi Deus Sanctissime,' one in a series of Gregorian chants about creation. Although recent scholarship has promoted an ironic reading of Gower's poem, 'Rex Celi Deus''s deployment of 'Celi Deus Sanctissime' creates a worshipful tone that invokes the coronation liturgy…." Gower's purpose, she argues, is "to speak to the king directly about the historical moment, locate late fourteenth-century politics in the context of God's reign, remark upon Henry's participation in the cycles of continuing creation, and emphasize the coronation's liturgical nature" (103-04). The essay includes Donavin's translation of Gower's poem, in an appendix (122-23). [RFY. Copyright. The John Gower Society. eJGN 36.1]


Gower Subjects
Minor Latin Poetry
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