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John Gower, Christine de Pizan, and the tradition of Elijah the prophet: "the voice of one crying"
Año del Documento
ES: Revista de filología inglesa, 2012, N.33, pags.117-135
Although John Gower (ca. 1330-1408) and Christine de Pizan (l364/5-ca. 1429) may not have known each other's work, comparative study helps to elucidate the literary court culture to which they both belonged. One important commonality is their self-definition as the "voice of one crying in the wilderness," or one who speaks moral truth to power, a phrase derived from the biblical prophets John the Baptist and Elijah. Gower wrote from this tradition in his Latin Vox Clamantis, including the Cronica Tripartita. He echoed the social justice themes of these prophets, especially their defense of the poor, but also their religious fanaticism, bellicosity, and support of violent regime change. Knowing that the role of prophet was biblically permitted to women, Christine created a feminized variation on the topos for her Lamentacion sur les maux de la France, a missive addressed to several royal figures in the hope of preventing civil war.
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