Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Poetics of the past, politics of the present : Chaucer, Gower, and 'old books'
Author: Urban, Malte
ISNI:       0000 0001 3541 2732
Awarding Body: University of Wales Aberystwyth
Current Institution: Aberystwyth University
Date of Award: 2005
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis examines the poetics and politics of ‘olde bokes’ (Legend of Good Women, G, 25) in selected works by Chaucer and Gower, paying particular attention to the way in which both writers appropriate their sources and the theories of history and political ideas informing these appropriations. It argues that Chaucer eschews metanarratives in his appropriations of the past and its writings, emphasising the multiplicity of voices that are contained in written discourse across time. In contrast, Gower, while acknowledging the presence of multiple voices, appropriates the writings of the past in an attempt to arrive at a harmonised poetic voice of his own. These poetics of the past result in different politics of the present in both writers’ works. While Gower’s politics are generally nostalgic and conservative, Chaucer is apolitical and primarily interested in the processes of political discourse. In this respect, Gower is a writer who strives to make sense of history and tradition and formulate poignant political statements in the face of contemporary struggles, whereas Chaucer does not offer unambiguous statements, but rather creates a multi-facetted poetic voice that highlights the reasons why such statements are impossible to achieve in the face of discursive heterogeneity.
Supervisor: Watt, Patricia Diane ; Jowitt, Claire Elaine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Chaucer ; Gower