Online Bibliography - Education

John Gower

MS Hunter 59 T-2-17 Portrait of Gower folio 6v John Gower Vox Clamantis Glasgow Univ Library


Little is known about John Gower’s formal education. Many of these sites focus on descriptions of school life in the 14th Century. Given Gower's social standing, and the possibility that he may have worked as a lawyer, it seems likely that he would have received a college education.

University of Cambridge: The Medieval University
The University of Cambridge’s site offers a very concise (yet more in-depth than Oxford’s) look at life in a medieval university. This page covers the subjects taught at Cambridge, common pedagogical methods, the rise of graduation ceremonies and formal degrees, and the beginning of administrative positions and statutes.

The Physical Setting of the University
Also from the University of Cambridge’s site, this page focuses on the school’s physical growth from being housed on religious grounds and in private homes to having its own permanent setting. The first three paragraphs cover the rise of Cambridge through the 14th century. This page is less useful for understanding scholarly life during this time, but it does offer a frame of reference for the origin and growth of university campuses.

University of Oxford: A Brief History of the University
The University of Oxford summarizes its more than 900 years of history, highlighting the most notable events at Oxford throughout each century. The fourth and fifth paragraphs relate specifically to events in the fourteenth century. Although not as comprehensive as Cambridge’s site, Oxford offers a good starting point for understanding life at this university during Gower’s time.

A Medieval Education and Its Implications
Chapter one in J. Stephen Russell's Chaucer and the Trivium: The Mindsong of the Canterbury Tales. Russell (Associate Professor of English at Hofstra University) examines the pedagogy of grammar, logic, philosophy, and rhetoric in medieval schools. He considers how these subjects influenced students during this time and how their resulting perspectives differed from modern people. This well-written, 48-page chapter goes into great detail about the medieval educational experience. For those with a more cursory interest, read the Grammar section from the middle of page 9 through the first paragraph on page 12.

Education in Britain: The Middle Ages
These two pages, created by the Department of English at Umea University in Sweden, offer a brief description of the life of students in elementary and grammar schools during the Middle Ages. The second page briefly explores the education of aristocrats and women as well as the role of punishment in the medieval classroom.



"I throw my darts and shoot my arrows at the world. But where there is a righteous man, no arrow strikes. But I wound those who live wickedly. Therefore let him who recognizes himself there look to himself."
Vox Clamantis

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