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"Piers Plowman" By James Simpson

"Piers Plowman"
by James Simpson

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The main aim of this book is to convince the reader of Piers Plowman's centrality in any account of the literary and cultural history of the later Middle Ages. Brief expositions of the relevant background are provided for readers with limited experience of medieval culture.
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"Piers Plowman" Summary

"Piers Plowman": An Introduction to the B-text by James Simpson

The main aim of this book is to convince the reader of Piers Plowman's centrality in any account of the literary and cultural history of the later Middle Ages. It tries to demonstrate how the poem, despite being deeply anchored in a conservative literary, ecclesiastical and social culture, in fact questions that culture in moving towards positions of doubt and dissent, and in reimagining social and religious institutions. The author argues that Langland consistently develops one theme throughout the poem, that of the relations between justice and mercy. In following this theme, certain psychological, institutional, and literary changes become necessary: broadly speaking, the poem moves away from rational to an affective approach to problems; from a hierarchical to a more horizontal sense of ecclesiastical and social institutions; and from authoritarian, "closed" literary forms to more exploratory and open ended procedures. Simpson takes into account Langland's theology, his idea of the Church as an institution and in a broad sense, his politics. He also tries to show how ecclesiastical and political attachments are written into the formal choices Langland makes. Throughout the poem he considers such questions as what genre is being practised here?, what claims to authority does such a genre make?, what aspect of the self does it appeal to?, what social or ecclesiastical institution is it produced by and does it support? and finally, in what ways are authoritative genres found by Langland to be inadequate. The author aims to address the argument to readers who might have no previous experience of medieval culture; a secondary function of the book is therefore to provide brief expositions of any relevant backgrounds which need to be understood before an understanding of Langland's enterprise is possible.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: the poem and its author; Langland's immediate poetic context; "Discourse"; schematic structure of the poem. Part 1 The first vision - prologue and passus I: literary "Truthe"; theological "Truthe"; social "Truthe". Part 2 The first vision - passus II-IV: personification allegory; mede and social "Truthe"; mede and legal "Truthe". Part 3 The second vision: passus V-VII: ecclesiastical satire; theological themes - the reward of works, a wage or a gift?; conclusion - the crisis of justice. Part 4 The third vision - passus VIII-XII: structure as determined by psychology; style; theme; the inner dream - fortune, lewtee, scripture, Trajan; deconstruction; imaginatyf. Part 5 The fourth vision - passus XIII-XIV: educational transitions; poetic transitions; social transitions. Part 6 The fifth vision - passus XV-XVIII: Anima - the whole soul; Anima and the Church; Anima and charity - Langland's historical sense of the self and of charity; the inner dream. Part 7 Visions six, seven, and eight - passus XVIII-XX: the sixth vision, passus XVIII; the seventh vision, passus XIX - Will's Biblical "Reading" and the liturgy, the Apostolic Church and its crafts; the eighth vision, passus XX.

Additional information

"Piers Plowman": An Introduction to the B-text by James Simpson
James Simpson
Longman Mediaeval & Renaissance Library
Used - Very Good
Pearson Education Limited
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.