John Gower's great poem, the Confessio Amantis, was the first work of English literature translated into any European language. Occasioned by the existence in Spain of fifteenth-century Portuguese and Spanish manuscripts of the Confessio, the nineteen essays brought together here represent new and original approaches to Gower's role in Anglo-Iberian literary relations. They include major studies of the palaeography of the Iberian manuscripts; of the ownership history of the Portuguese Confessio manuscript; of the glosses of Gowerian manuscripts; and of the manuscript of the Yale Confessio Amantis. Other essays situate the translations amidst Anglo-Spanish relations generally in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; examine possible Spanish influences on Gower's writing; and speculate on possible providers of the Confessio to Philippa, daughter of John of Gaunt and queen of Portugal.
Further chapters broaden the scope of the volume. Amongst other topics, they look at Gower's use of Virgilian/Dantean models; classical gestures in the Castilian translation; Gower's conscious contrasting of epic ideals and courtly romance; nuances of material goods and the idea of "the good" in the Confessio; Marxian aesthetics, Balzac, and Gowerian narrative in late medieval trading culture between England and Iberia; reading the Confessio through the lens of gift exchange; literary form in Gower's later Latin poems; Gower and Alain Chartier as international initiators of a new "public poetry"; and the modern sales history of manuscript and early printed copies of the Confessio, and what it reveals about literary trends.
Ana Saez Hidalgo is Associate Professor at the University of Valladolid, Spain; R.F. Yeager is Professor of English and World Languages and chair of the department at the University of West Florida.
Contributors: Maria Bullon-Fernandez, David R. Carlson, Sian Echard, A.S.G. Edwards, Robert R. Edwards, Tiago Viula de Faria, Andrew Galloway, Fernando Galvan, Marta Maria Gutierrez Rodriguez, Mauricio Herrero Jimenez, Ethan Knapp, Roger A. Ladd, Alberto Lazaro, Maria Luisa Lopez-Vidriero Abello, Matthew McCabe, Alastair J. Minnis, Clara Pascual-Argente, Tamara Para A. Shailor, Winthrop Wetherbee