Managing Language in Piers Plowman

March 1994
260 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Piers Plowman Studies
ISBN: 9780859913928
Format: Hardback

Managing Language in Piers Plowman

Gillian Rudd

A fresh approach to ambiguities of language in Piers Plowman.
Starting from a consideration of medieval definitions of the word as both logos and verbum, this reading of Piers Plowmanshows that both scholastic and mystic attitudes to language are at play within the poem. Concepts of authority, authorship, interpretation and translation are explored and it is made clear that these are inextricably linked, both in critical debates and in the text itself. The study progresses towards a conclusion that the full potential of language can be realised only when the desire to express things unambiguously is abandoned and ambiguity itself is allowed to be a power and a way of understanding. The rich fabric of Langland's text thus becomes something to enjoy and participate in, rather than battle with or seek to control. Furthermore, it proves to be a meeting point for medieval and modern theories of text and reading, which are themselves enlivened by this complex and vivid poem.
G.A. RUDD lectures in English at the University of Liverpool.


Interesting and stimulating... a thoughtful and challenging account of Piers Plowman. ENGLISH STUDIES

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