•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Visual adaptation of a medieval text, as tempting as it is in film of any kind, is never an easy conversion, and all the more so if the original is as formally structured as John Gower’s Confessio Amantis. This essay examines the philosophy and difficulties of making a “medieval motion picture” (animated and narrated by the author) reflect the message of three of Gower’s tales (“The Travelers and the Angel,” “Canace and Machaire,” “Florent”) as well as the multimedia properties of the manuscripts that house them, their illuminations beckoning us into colorful virtual worlds. In referencing theories of adaptation, the frame, the “video-poem,” and also the challenges posed by filming in an actual virtual world, the essay analyzes each tale in its original and remediated contexts, discussing the film’s fidelity to and departure from them: for in adapting them to “machinima,” its maker uncovers new understandings of them, as well as renewed appreciation of a technical medium that interrogates contemporary concepts of nature, artifice, and representation.