Title Background

Culture Wars? All’s Not Quiet on the Langland Front.” Response to Wittig’s “‘Culture Wars’ and the Persona in <i>Piers Plowman</i>

Culture Wars? All’s Not Quiet on the Langland Front.” Response to Wittig’s “‘Culture Wars’ and the Persona in Piers Plowman

Wittig’s assertion that C.5 concerns only matters of “conscience” and not of politics, as Middleton’s 1997 reading of this passus has it, is in the end amenable to the problem of politics and social realities. The respondent is not wholly persuaded, however, the C.5 is motivated by the labor statutes of 1388, but rather by an “existing textual environment concerning itinerant labor.” More specifically: “Accepting that this genealogy of vagrancy developed over time and in a public sphere would provide L with a discursive background conducive to the construction of the C.5 episode and place the Cambridge Statutes as an analogue to the passage. It would also explain the absence from the poem of the definitive and truly innovative aspect of the legislation: a request for Will’s personal documentation.” The respondent then returns to the question of “Culture Wars” raised by Wittig, which to this author is a question of history, politics, and scholarly training and argument; all critical claims are political, even Wittig’s, which had been asserted as personal. Lastly, the respondent deals with C.5, and the curious problem that “an argument with Conscience cannot be won.”

Volume

YLS 15 (2001): 196-200

Cross Reference

31844

Author

Wilsbacher, Gregory J