John Gower's Moral Adaptation of Ovid's "Tale of Actaeon"


This paper argues that John Gower in his literary adaptations introduces strategic narrative changes that amount to more than being inferior approximations of the original classical "Tale of Actaeon". These changes, we claim, challenge the authority as well as the literary and cultural uniqueness of the classical sources he borrowed from. We discuss Gower's creative manipulation of his classical sources, specifically the differences between his and Ovid's version of "The Tale of Actaeon," pointing up the former’s authorial uniqueness as an original English poet. We conclude that Gower uses his borrowed material according to his poem's moral purpose. He does not passively paraphrase his classical sources into Middle English; rather, he innovatively rewrites them in light of the Confessio's exemplary texture.


Malek J. Zuraikat and Faisal I. Rawashdeh


Confessio Amantis, John Gower, Medieval English poetry, Ovid, "The Tale of Actaeon


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