John Gower’s In Praise of Peace

Minor Latin Works

John Gower. The Minor Latin Works with In Praise of Peace. Ed. R.F. Yeager and Michael Livingston. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2006. [Available for free online.]

From the Introduction:

Gower’s recurring praise in the poem of not just peace, but the person of the king himself, led Paul Strohm to consider it simply a piece of Lancastrian propaganda. And the poem’s place as an English capstone to a career of writing for, to, and about England’s princes brought Fisher to the point of questioning whether there has “ever been a greater sycophant in the history of English literature” than Gower. The simplistic reductions of such observations has left In Praise of Peace in the same position as the shorter Latin works edited and translated in this volume: ignored, neglected, reduced, or relegated to the dusty realm of footnotes. But there is far more at work in this complex poem, as Gower’s verse deftly weaves in and out of the historical, political, social, and religious contexts and controversies of its day. Even when he refuses to name names, Gower is always topical.

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