John Gower has been criticised for composing verse propaganda for the English state, in support of the regime of Henry IV, at the end of his distinguished career. However, as the author of this book shows, using evidence from Gower's English, French and Latin poems alongside contemporary state papers, pamphlet-literature, and other historical prose, Gower was not the only medieval writer to be so employed in serving a monarchy's goals. Professor Carlson also argues that Gower's late poetry is the apotheosis of the fourteenth-century tradition of state-official writing which lay at the origin of the literary Renaissance in Ricardian and Lancastrian England.
David Carlson is Professor in the Department of English, University of Ottawa.
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of pages: 254
Weight: 546 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 20 mm
2013 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title
David Carlson has written a book that contributes enormously to our knowledge of the dynamics of late-medieval literary patronage in general and to our understanding of John Gower's relationship to Richard II and Henry IV in particular. In its detailed exposition of difficult verse texts it stands as a model for literary scholars, and in its nuanced elucidation of contemporary responses to political events (especially the Lancastrian usurpation), it offers some valuable lessons for the historian as well. SPECULUM
An important book for everyone interested in political writing - argued, as one would expect from Carson, on the basis of a wealth of detail which is submitted to skeptical scrutiny. MEDIUM AEVUM
A crucial addition to the history of ways in which literary production and politics were interconnected in fourteenth-century England. PARERGON
A game-changing study. ... An outstanding inquiry, blending source study, political criticism, and sensitive analyses. ... Highly recommended. CHOICE