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Western Medieval Manuscripts : John Gower, Confessio amantis

Western Medieval Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript contains a copy of the late 14th-century Middle English poem <i>Confessio Amantis</i> (The Lover's Confession), one of the major works by the English poet John Gower (d. 1408). Three different recensions of the poem survive in 49 manuscripts. This manuscript contains an unfinished copy of the first (unrevised) recension. This version is characterised by a Prologue in which the work is said to be composed at the request of Richard II and an Epilogue in which the poem is dedicated both to Richard II and the poet Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400). In the subsequent recensions, the dedication to Chaucer is removed, and Richard II is replaced with Henry of Lancaster, the future King Henry IV. Although this manuscript-copy contains the Prologue, it lacks the epilogue's dedication, since it was left unfinished, the text ending in the seventh of the poem's eight books.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Despite various late-medieval and early-modern name inscriptions on the manuscript's flyleaves and in the margins of the Confessio Amantis, no individual owners of the manuscript had previously been securely identified prior to its acquisition by John Moore (1646-1714), bishop of Ely. In the cataloguing of this manuscript, however, it has been established that the manuscript was in the possession of Thomas Curson [Curzon] (d. 1555) of Waterperry, Oxforshire, Clerk Comptroller of the Household of Queen Mary I, around the mid-16th century and passed down to a family member. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Clarck Drieshen<br /> Project Cataloguer, Curious Cures in Cambridge Libraries<br /> Cambridge University Library</p>

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