In Book IV of the Confessio, things happen in the dark – the dark of night, of dreams, of despair, of secrecy, of treachery, of death. The medieval sin of accidia sets the pace for this beautifully constructed book, whose tales link and cross, as in a dance. Dido, Phyllis, the bad, the forgetful, and the obsessive lovers swing like slowing pendulums back to their starting points, and stop still. On the whole, their dance with Amans is a slow and stately pavane of the dead and desperate. This is Gower’s darkest book, though not the most bloody: Sloth is a sin of failure. Consequently, Book IV is interested in stones, especially statues, an aesthetic harmony between poetry and poetics which cannot be ignored. Statuary – as creation, as punishment, as static, as dynamic – grounds a complex and subtle discussion about stability, and stasis, perseverance and paralysis, beauty and monstrosity. This paper examines the paradoxes and thematic clusters arising out of the suicides and culminating in Araxarathen’s voluntary transformation to stone.
"Standing in the Dark: Sloth and Stability, Paralysis and Perseverance in Book IV of the Confessio Amantis,"
Accessus: Vol. 5
, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/accessus/vol5/iss2/7