Piers Plowman: An Introduction (Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies 2nd Revised edition)
By: James Simpson (author)Paperback
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This book provides an accessible, concise and intellectually stimulating introduction and guide to one of the richest, most challenging poems of pre-Reformation English. New to the internationally-renowned "Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies" series, James Simpson's indispensable guide to Piers Plowman has been fully revised for this reissue. As any teacher of the poem knows, teaching Piers Plowman is massively facilitated by a reliable introductory guide providing both information and interpretation. This book does just that. Its main aim is to demonstrate to undergraduate readers the centrality of Piers Plowman in any account of the literary and cultural history of the later English Middle Ages. Piers Plowman's principal project is the re-imagination of a vernacular Church; the text questions the culture within which it is anchored and moves towards an active re-imagination of social and religious institutions. Simpson's book demonstrates how the poem's historical significance is embedded in its formal choices. This is a truly introductory guide to Piers Plowman notable for its clarity, its intellectual subtlety and its originality.
Piers Plowman is a key medieval undergraduate text, both for its literary value and its religious significance. This full revision of the book incorporates the best new scholarship on Piers since the original 1990 edition.
James Simpson is Douglas P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English at Harvard University. He has contributed to The Norton Anthology of English Literature and co-edited the Yearbook of Langland Studies. He is the author of Reform and Cultural Revolution (2002) and Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and its Reformation Opponents (2007).
Preface to the Second Edition Introduction Approaching Piers Plowman The poem and its author Langland's immediate poetic context 'Discourse' Schematic structure of the poem 1. The First Vision: Prologue and Passus I Introduction Literary 'truthe' Theological 'truthe' Social 'truthe' Conclusion 2. The First Vision: Passus II-IV Introduction Personification allegory Mede and social 'truthe' Mede and legal 'truthe' Conclusion 3. The Second Vision: Passus V-VII Introduction Ecclesiastical satire Theological themes: the reward of works-a wage or a gift? Conclusion-the crisis of justice 4. The Third Vision: Passus VIII-XII Introduction Structure as determined by psychology Style Theme The inner-dream (XI. 5-402): Fortune, Lewtee, Imaginatif Conclusion 5. The Fourth Vision: Passus XIII-XIV Introduction Educational transitions Poetic transitions Social transitions Conclusion 6. The Vision: Passus XV-XVII Introduction Anima-the whole soul Anima and the Church Anima and charity Conclusion 7. Visions Six, Seven and Eight: Passus XVIII-XX Introduction The sixth vision: Passus XVIII The seventh vision: Passus XIX The eighth vision: Passus XX Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index
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- ID: 9780859898034
2nd Revised edition
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