The Monstrous New Art: Divided Forms in the Late Medieval Motet.

Zayaruznaya, Anna.

The Monstrous New Art: Divided Forms in the Late Medieval Motet.

Zayaruznaya, Anna. The Monstrous New Art: Divided Forms in the Late Medieval Motet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 142-72. ISBN 9781107039667.

In Chapter 4, "Interlude: Nebuchadnezzar's Dream," Zayaruznaya explores the idol made of gold, silver, bronze and steel from Nebuchadnezzar's Dream in Daniel 2. As Zayaruznaya explains in the introduction to this chapter: "A cultural history of Nebuchadnezzar's statue has yet to be written" [142]. Despite its brevity, this chapter takes important steps in that direction. Tracing the images of the statue from biblical commentaries through Dante and Deguileville, Zayaruznaya offers a concise account of the image's history that supplements Russell Peck's much earlier "John Gower and the Book of Daniel" (1989). The core of this chapter thoughtfully juxtaposes Gower's vision of the statue in the CA with both Vitry's "Cum statua/Hugo" and Machaut's "Remède de Fortune." Although Zayaruznaya declares that "[it] is not the aim of this study to establish any definite links between Gower and the musical works of Machaut and Vitry," [171] the specific parallels between Gower's poetry and the work of Machaut and Vitry are compelling. "Hugo," she argues, "is split--like Fortune, like the statue, like mortal man in Gower's scheme--between opposites. Like the world, he began good and got worse; like the statue, he stands divided" [171]. Likewise, she argues, regarding CA Pro.935 and lines 876-80 of the "Remède": "In addition to the borrowed theme of Fortune, the "Confessio amantis" is linked to the "Remède" by a rhetorical device": anaphora [168]. Zayaruznaya, Gower, Vitry, and Machaut's "interpretations stand aside from Italian and French poets who use it as a more positive and sometimes even a stable symbol. The decision to cast it in a negative light thus becomes exactly that: a decision, rather than a mechanical retelling of a Bible story," [172]. As scholars continue to expand critical understandings of Gower's relationship to his French peers, Zayaruznaya's contribution illuminates a particularly significant point of intersection and, perhaps, exchange. [ZS. Copyright. The John Gower Society. eJGN 37.2.]


Gower Subjects
Confessio Amantis
Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Style, Rhetoric, and Versification