"In Propria Persona": Artifice, Politics, and Propriety in John Gower's Confessio Amantis
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This dissertation examines the use of personae, the rhetorical artifices by which an author creates different voices, in John Gower's Confessio Amantis. I argue that the Confessio attempts to expose how discourses of sexual desire alienate subjects from their proper place in the political world, and produce artificial personae that only appear socially engaged. The first three chapters consider the creation of the personae in the context of medieval Aristotelian political thought and the Roman de la Rose tradition. The last three chapters examine the extended discourse of Gower's primary personae in the Confessio Amantis, drawing upon Gower's other works and the history of Gower criticism.
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