A Tokene and a Book: Reading Images and Building Consensus in Dives and Pauper
This article argues that the arguments defending image-worship in Dives and Pauper are designed to rehabilitate, rather than to hereticate, the Lollard sympathizers who make up its implied audience. The author of Dives and Pauper does this by casting images as books which must be read and interpreted, rather than as pictures depicting their subjects. This strategy seeks to build consensus among image-venerators and their potential opponents by appealing to their interest in books and their suspicion of the affective devotional practices that frequently surrounded images. The article suggests that the difficulties that scholars have in categorizing Dives and Pauper (all call it ‘orthodox’ but feel the need to footnote or qualify that designation) indicates a wider and more interesting variety of “orthodox” stances than has previously been acknowledged.
Yearbook of Langland Studies, 28 (2014), 173-90.