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Gower, Richard II and Henry IV

Bennett, M 2019 , 'Gower, Richard II and Henry IV', in S Rigby (ed.), Historians on John Gower , Brewer, Cambridge, UK, pp. 425-488.

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Abstract

John Gower spent much of his life writing for and about Richard II and his nemesis Henry of Lancaster. This chapter reassesses Gower’s views on Richard’s reign by examining the poet’s writings in the context of his background in Kent, his social circle and political connections, the politics of Richard’s reign, and contemporary perceptions of his rule. Key issues here are Gower’s role as mentor to royalty in his letter to Richard in the Vox Clamantis; the dating of the critical comments about the king which Gower added to this text; Gower’s stance in relation to the cause of the Appellants in 1387-8; the dating and significance of the changes which Gower made to the Confessio Amantis, particularly the change of dedication from Richard to Henry; the date of the composition of the three parts of the Cronica Tripertita, in which Gower wrote an account of Richard’s misrule, his tyranny and overthrow; and the misleading nature of modern representations of Gower as a ‘Lancastrian propagandist’.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Bennett, M
Keywords: John Gower, Richard II, Henry IV, Confessio Amantis, political poetry
Publisher: Brewer
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Boydell & Brewer

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