The French works: Mirour de l’Omme

Authored by: Craig E. Bertolet

The Routledge Research Companion to John Gower

Print publication date:  April  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472435804
eBook ISBN: 9781315613109
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043034


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The Mirour de l’Omme is Gower’s longest work in French. It is also one of his earliest. 1 The poem describes the origins of the Seven Deadly Sins and their corresponding Virtues, applications of these Virtues and Vices to contemporary England, and in a concluding section recounts the Life of the Virgin. Compared with the growing body of scholarly work on the Latin Vox Clamantis and the English Confessio Amantis, the scholarly work on the Mirour is small. For instance, no book-length study of the Mirour has so far been produced. Instead, criticism is mostly in articles, chapters in monographs or essay collections, and sections in dissertations. There are three possible explanations for why this is so: the poem had been lost for around 500 years; it has only been available in English translation since 1992; and Gower’s Anglo-French poetry has attracted few scholars until very recently.

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