This piece focuses on the Tale of Lucrece and the Tale of Mundus and Paulina in John Gower's Confessio Amantis. I examine how these two quite distinct narratives of sexual assault emphasize key themes in community response to trauma. In these two tales, Gower emphasizes the extent to which interpersonal violence is also social violence; further, community demands for accountability are essential to social healing in both cases. These two models demonstrate the extent to which contemporary society, too, struggles to hold authority accountable and address social wrongs.


I am grateful to Eve Salisbury & Georgiana Donavin for the opportunity to participate in the "Hope and Healing in Gower" symposium in June 2021, as well as to my fellow participants and all those in attendance for thought-provoking and inspiring discussion.