Gower and Rhetoric.

Zarins, Kim.

Gower and Rhetoric.

Zarins, Kim. "Gower and Rhetoric." In Ana Sáez-Hidalgo, Brian Gastle, and R. F. Yeager, eds. The Routledge Research Companion to John Gower (Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2017), pp. 37-55.

In the CA Book 7, Gower produced the first treatise on rhetoric in the English language. Zarins highlights Gower's profound ambivalence toward rhetoric a gift from God to man alone (37), but also contrived, "unnatural" (37) and prone to abusive purposes, even goading to war (41). On rhetoric as a civilizing force, Gower appeals to Cicero, Horace, and the irenic harpist Arion (38-40). His use of rhetorical figures is skillfully varied across languages (42-47). The social classes, as well as women, have their special rhetorical gifts, to be used for good or ill (47-49), just as eloquence in general may be used or abused (49-50). [LBB. Copyright. The John Gower Society. eJGN 37.2.]


Gower Subjects
Style, Rhetoric, and Versification