In fourteenth-century London, Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower were “frenemies.” Chaucer was the upwardly mobile bureaucrat, ready to poke fun at everyone; Gower was the well-heeled and straitlaced lawyer. Their bodies of poetry, spanning four decades and three languages, influence and respond to one another. We will read the two poets side by side, with attention to topics of mutual relevance such as multilingualism, politics, literary form, source study, and social status. This seminar has minimal overlap with the syllabus of ENGL3393: Chaucer. No prior knowledge of Middle English required. Gower’s French and Latin texts read in translation.


London frenemies?
Choosing a language
Sources of history
Masculinity and rape
Love, death, and Ovid
Politics, 1381-1400
Lyric form and metrical form
Manuscript culture

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