Queer Gower edited collection
Co-editors: Natalie Grinnell, Reeves Family Professor in the Humanities (Wofford College) and Will Rogers (University of Louisiana-Monroe)
In Amoral Gower: Language, Sex, and Politics, Diane Watt argues that “within Gower’s corpus as a whole, the authority of prestige and vernacular tongues alike is undermined by queer gender play that connects sexual indeterminacy with linguistic confusion.” (21) This line, and its opening of queer possibilities for all of Gower’s texts, with their emphasis on language order and disorder, deserves further attention. Indeed, we imagine this volume as one which builds on Watt’s interpretations of the Confessio while also taking into account the work of other scholars, including María Bullón-Fernández, Gabrielle Bychowski, Eve Salisbury, among others, who have done so much work tracing the connections between Gower’s texts with queer theory and recovering and emphasizing different sexualities and queer identities. ‘The Middel Weie’: Queer Readings and Gower’s Texts would continue that work, while simultaneously taking stock of new queer directions for Gower’s poetry. In fact, a number of questions for Gower’s poetry remain: what can queer theory still tells us about Gower’s old books? How can we continue to theorize the intersections between queer theory and other approaches (including Affect Theory, Ecocriticism, and Disability Studies) in looking at Gower’s works? What challenges to queer theory does Gower present?
This collection of essays asks contributors to take the capaciousness of the word “queer” to heart in order to think about what connections we can continue to make between queer theory and Gower’s poetry in order to trace and depict the full range of non-normative identities and phenomena in Gower’s trilingual corpus. Because this volume seeks to look at both the English and non-English texts, we are interested in papers that touch upon any of Gower’s major or minor works, in English, French, or Latin. Moreover, we encourage a diversity of approaches to what is “queer” in Gower’s texts.