That the poet John Gower was a major literary figure in England at the close of the fourteenth century is no longer in question. Scholarly attention paid to him and to his work over the past twenty- five years has redeemed him from an undeserved obscurity imposed by the preceding two hundred. The facts of his life and career are now documented, and recent critical assessment has placed his achievement most accurately alongside Chaucer's, Langland's, and the Gawain- poet's.
Unique among his contemporaries, all of whom undoubtedly read and used French in some measure, Gower alone has left us a significant body of verse and prose in Anglo-Norman; chiefly, the twelve-stanza poem Mirour de l-Omme, the Cinkante Balades, and the Traitié pour les amantz marietz. We are offered in this concordance of his Anglo- Norman work a unique opportunity to view a poetic language as it was written and read in England until Gower's death in 1408 and beyond.
Robert F. Yeager is a professor of literature and language at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.