The Septvauns affair, purchase, and parliament in John Gower's Mirour de l'Omme

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4 Scopus citations


This article analyzes John Gower's Mirour de l'Omme, a major Anglo-French poem from the later fourteenth century. The analysis focuses on three points: 1) the poet's involvement in a parliamentary law dispute about land purchasing in 1365-1366; 2) the parliamentary allegory (the "parliament of the devils" in Part I), extensive legal diction, and the condemnation of "purchasing" in the poem; and 3) the significance these elements have for understanding the Mirour as a complex social and ethical allegory. This article argues that Gower's poetical ambivalence about "the common voice" is reflected in the work's parliamentary form, its powerful but also subtly defensive condemnation of legal manipulation, and in the problems of representation - both political and artistic - that these elements raise. This analysis thus reevaluates the Mirour as an important early work in Gower's oeuvre demonstrating engagement with many of the same issues arising in his later verse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-464+xi-xii
JournalViator - Medieval and Renaissance Studies
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


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