Confessio Amantis


To his contemporaries, Gower's work was generally as well known as the poetry of Chaucer: Caxton printed Gower's work alongside Chaucer's, and Gower became part of the early canon of English literature. But it was Chaucer's works which became the model for future poets, and the legacy of the Confessio has suffered as a result. It is hard to find works that show signs of direct influence: the only clear example is Shakespeare's Pericles, where the influence is conscious borrowing: the use of Gower's characteristic octosyllabic line for the character of Gower himself.

While not of immense importance as a source for later works, the Confessio is nonetheless significant in its own right as one of the earliest poems written in a form of English that is clearly recognizable as a direct precursor to the modern standard, and, above all, as one of the handful of works that established the foundations of literary prestige on which modern English literature is built.

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