Friday, April 1, 2016

John Gower, Poet

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
There are few solid details of John Gower's background and early life.  He may have been born in Yorkshire,  his family may have held property in Kent, Yorkshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Nothing is known of his education, although it has been speculated that he was trained in law. Gower himself held properties in Suffolk and Kent, where he seems to have resided until taking up residence in the priory of St. Mary Overie in Southwark, London, around 1377.
A very sketchy back ground, for a man with so monumental a tomb.
What we do know is that John Gower was a personal friend of Geoffrey Chaucer, a contemporary of William Langland, and a gifted writer in his own right as an exceptional trilingual poet.  He wrote in English, French and Latin.  He gained an international reputation when some of his works were also translated into Portuguese and later into Spanish.  His works contained moral and political themes as well as discussions of the power of love.  They were highly praised by his peers. 
John Gower's most  important writings are these:
Speculum Hominis: a poem, first written in French, on the fall of man and the effect of sin in the world.
Vox Clamantis:, any essay with also deals with sin,  particularly criticising the corruption inherent in society. This is an important piece of writing because it provides a contemporary view of the Peasants' Revolt of 1381.  Here is an appropriate illustration from his work of Gower firing arrows at the world.
(Read more.)

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