Abstract

This article argues that the Ricardian version of Gower's Confessio Amantis moves from didactic allegory to disenchanted prayers via three transformations of the authorial persona. After introducing himself as a moralizing advisor, Gower stages a commission whereby he changes himself into a courtier poet. Within that poet's courtly verse, Gower next masquerades as the courtier Amans and uses the lover's shrift to expose the Ricardian court's ethical shortcomings. Finally, Amans is unmasked to reveal John Gower senex. In this final role, Gower abandons his previous parts and relies instead on prayer to shape Richard into the king he resists becoming.

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