John Gower and the Law: Legal Theory and Practice.

van Dijk, Conrad.

John Gower and the Law: Legal Theory and Practice.

van Dijk, Conrad. "John Gower and the Law: Legal Theory and Practice." 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. 75-87.

Applying Bakhtinian theory, van Dijk defines law as a comprehensive "culture" allowing for contradiction and paradox, thus aligned with literature (75-77). Gower may have been some kind of lawyer, and he was certainly a litigant who knew the potential for "loopholes" in the legal practice of his time (78-79). Law was contiguous with justice in the Golden Age, but not always now (78). Despite this seeming pessimism, Gower held to a Christian "realist" view of the law as founded in nature, thus in love (80-82), although "love" is sometimes seen as problematic (82). Many times in the CA, exempla demonstrate the paradox that obedience to a just law really sets us free (83-84). [LBB. Copyright. The John Gower Society. eJGN 37.2.]


Gower Subjects
Background and General Criticism
Biography of Gower
Confessio Amantis