Article ID: CBB843960549

John Gower Illustrated: The Archer Images, Astronomical Science, and Poetic Identity (2023)


Three manuscript copies of John Gower's Vox Clamantis contain large frontispiece images of a fashionable archer shooting at a suspended globe, headed by the short poem “Ad mundum mitto mea iacula, dumque sagitto.” The text-image ensemble aligns with Gower's ethical and rhetorical imperatives and was likely designed to idealize his posture as a social satirist and sum up the ambitions of his life's work. This essay adds another dimension to understanding this memorial image, reading the archer through a technical figure of mathematical astronomy. Seeing in the illustration a silhouette of an elementary chord diagram, the essay argues that Gower's archer imagery presents an allusive visual emblem, positioning himself in an elevated sphere with broader implications for the integration of medieval poetic and scientific disciplines. Representational strategies common to the arts show their dependence on conceptual models, graphical interfaces, and technical objects commensurate to the described world.

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Authors & Contributors
Acar, Şinasi
Bir, Atilla
Kaçar, Mustafa
Credland, Arthur C.
Green, Steven J.
Hacker, Barton C.
Technai, An International Journal for Ancient Science and Technology
Osmanli Bilimi Arastirmalari: Studies in Ottoman Science
Sudhoffs Archiv: Zeitschrift fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Arms and Armour Society Journal
Fabrizio Serra Editore
Oxford University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
SISMEL edizioni del Galluzzo
University of Nebraska Press
Bryn Mawr College
Poetry and poetics
Science and literature
Military technology
Chaucer, Geoffrey
Hevelius, Johannes
Leopardi, Giacomo
Manilius, Marcus
Time Periods
17th century
15th century
19th century
13th century
Ottoman Empire
Rome (Italy)
Great Britain
Holy Roman Empire

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