Writing, Gender, and Power in Gower's Confessio Amantis
Author: Leff, Amanda M.
Source: Exemplaria, Volume 20, Number 1, Spring 2008 , pp. 28-47(20)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:This article explores Gower's representation of women's authorship in the Confessio Amantis. Written during the fourteenth-century expansion of lay and women's literacy, the Confessio reflects cultural anxiety about writing women. Characters such as Philomela and Canace appropriate a "male" mode of communication and are thereby able to exercise power and escape their prescribed spheres. In particular, these women use writing to challenge male authority figures who attempt to control or define them. Through its depiction of such women, the Confessio reveals the potential subversiveness of the written word. In a more general sense, Gower recognizes the power of texts to reconfigure social bonds and social networks.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2008-03-01