Anachronistic Responsibility (A Proposal): Ethics History, History, and Piers Plowman
The critical treatment of poverty in PPl has been shaped by methodological concerns. Historicist readings of the poor in the poem confront the limit of their own phenomenological underpinnings. That is, to the extent that historicism recognizes all objects of study as constructions of the critic’s conscious self it cannot fully encounter the ethical consequences of L’s discourse on poverty. In response, the essay suggests an expansion of historical approaches in lieu of post-structuralist ethical theory to allow for an ethical encounter with the past.