Reading Piers Plowman
Reading "Piers Plowman" is an indispensable scholarly guide to a magnificent - and notoriously difficult - medieval poem. With Piers Plowman, the fourteenth-century poet William Langland proved that English verse could be at once spiritually electrifying and intellectually rigorous, capable of imagining society in its totality while at the same time exploring heady ideas about language, theology and culture. In her study of Piers Plowman, Emily Steiner explores how Langland's ambitious poetics emerged in dialogue with contemporary ideas; for example, about political counsel and gender, the ethics of poverty, secular and pagan learning, lordship and servitude, and the long history of Christianity. Lucid and comprehensive, Steiner's study teaches us to stay alert to the poem's stunning effects while still making sense of its literary and historical contexts.
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Abraham Adam allegorical alliteration analogy Anima animals Aristotle Athanasian Creed beasts beggars biblical Boethius C-text charity Chaucer Christ Christian clergy clerical clerks confession Conscience Conscience’s Cursor mundi death deﬁnes difﬁcult divine Dobest Dowel dreamer estates ethical example explains faith ﬁgures ﬁnd ﬁrst ﬁttingness ﬂesh friars God’s grace harrowing of hell heaven Holy Church human identiﬁcation Imaginatif Jews justice kind wit King King’s knight labor Lady Langland Latin learning lines literary live lord Lucifer manere manuscript medieval Meed Meed’s metra Middle English moral myghte narrative noght one’s original sin pagan Pardon passage passus Patience’s penance person personiﬁcation Piers Plowman Piers the Plowman Piers’s poem poem’s poet poet’s poetics Polychronicon poor poverty preaching priest Prologue prosimetrum quod Redemption relationship reward rich sacriﬁce salvation saved says Scripture sermon sholde sins soul speciﬁcally spiritual story theology thow Trajan Trinitarian Trinity Truth vernacular virtue virtuous pagan writing