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Avarice, Idolatry, and Fornication: The Connection between Genius’s Discussions about Religion and Virginity in Book 5 of John Gower’s Confessio Amantis

Avarice, Idolatry, and Fornication: The Connection between Genius’s Discussions about Religion... <p>Abstract:</p><p>One of the central questions about the design of John Gower’s <i>Confessio Amantis</i> is the purpose of his inclusion of a history of idolatry and a commentary on virginity in a book on avarice. This article attempts to resolve this critical debate by demonstrating that these “digressions” are not only appropriate but also essential to Gower’s expansion of the sin and the dangers it poses to medieval readers. I argue that in book 5 Gower articulates the conceptual link between avarice, sexual violence, idolatry, and fornication found in medieval law and the Pauline epistles. Through its expanded scope and politicized scheme, Gower’s analysis of avarice reveals the manifold ways in which the vice may corrupt positive and natural law and the severe consequences that corruption may have on every level of society.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in Philology University of North Carolina Press

Avarice, Idolatry, and Fornication: The Connection between Genius’s Discussions about Religion and Virginity in Book 5 of John Gower’s Confessio Amantis

Studies in Philology , Volume 116 (3) – Jul 8, 2019

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Studies in Philology, Incorporated
ISSN
1543-0383

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>One of the central questions about the design of John Gower’s <i>Confessio Amantis</i> is the purpose of his inclusion of a history of idolatry and a commentary on virginity in a book on avarice. This article attempts to resolve this critical debate by demonstrating that these “digressions” are not only appropriate but also essential to Gower’s expansion of the sin and the dangers it poses to medieval readers. I argue that in book 5 Gower articulates the conceptual link between avarice, sexual violence, idolatry, and fornication found in medieval law and the Pauline epistles. Through its expanded scope and politicized scheme, Gower’s analysis of avarice reveals the manifold ways in which the vice may corrupt positive and natural law and the severe consequences that corruption may have on every level of society.</p>

Journal

Studies in PhilologyUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jul 8, 2019

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