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In Love and Ethics, Peter Nicholson offers a comprehensive and accessible reading of Gower's Confessio, as well as a guide to the issues that it poses, linking all of the diverse elements of Gower's complex poem into a single broad view of its purpose and structure. Beginning with an investigation of the literary antecedents of the poem, the author then distinguishes the Confessio from its predecessors in order to discover what is most unique about it. In viewing the Confessio both as a poem and as a work of moral instruction, Love and Ethics illustrates the work's concern with the laws that govern human love, and its understanding of the elusiveness of moral certainty in a fallen world.
Intended for both specialists and non-specialists, Love and Ethics addresses many of the specific concerns of current Gower criticism, provides complete translations of all foreign quotation, and guides the novice reader through Gower's Middle English.
"Nicholson shows a real enthusiasm for and commitment to a complex, sophisticated and sometimes subtle poem that certainly deserves the attention that he so lovingly bestows upon it."
—The Review of English Studies
"Love and Ethics in Gower's 'Confessio Amantis' is a worthy tribute to an impressive (if somewhat unvisited) part of medieval English civilization. For those planning excursions to or tours of Confessio Amantis, Nicholson's book will be an essential guide."
"Love and Ethics in Gower's 'Confessio Amantis' will thus be a conspicuous part of Gower-land for a long time. Its account of Confessio Amantis will be essential reading for specialists."
"Simply dip into Nicholson's masterly reading of the poem's three endings to see how much this important...book has to offer."