Date of this Version
Sixteenth Century Journal 44:1 (Spring 2013), pp. 196-197.
The English poet John Gower's (d. 1408) greatest boon seems also to have been the reason for his fall into relative obscurity and his lamentable omission from syllabi. His writings include a substantial body of Middle English, Latin, and Anglo-French, and his trilingual approach reflects the culture in which he lived. In his 2005 article in the Chaucer Review, prominent Gower scholar R. F. Yeager draws attention to the lack of critical scholarship—either in French or English—on the English poet's Cinkante Balades and the Traitié Selonc les Auctour pour Essampler Les Amantz Marietz. It is a state of affairs Yeager hopes—and works—to change with his careful work in this volume, which makes these texts accessible to a much wider audience. Yeager's edition includes the full texts, in their original Anglo-Norman French as well as his own English translation, of the Traitié Selonc les Auctour pour Essampler Les Amantz Marietz and the Cinkante Balades. It also includes a general introduction, an introduction to each text, explanatory and textual notes, two appendixes, and a bibliography. Yeager's translations of both texts show his familiarity and years of expertise as a scholar of Gower. His words are clear and precise, and they do not take away from the directness of the AngloNorman. Yeager takes care not to add or subtract anything from Gower's language, nor does he change the structure of the English (except when it would result in extreme clumsiness). In short, it is a clean, literal translation that allows readers to see Gower as Anglo-Norman writer in a trilingual world.