Finding the Balance in the C-revision of Piers Plowman: Faith-Grace-Mercy versus Hope-Works-Justice.
Clutterbuck argues that L’s emphasis on the spiritual and social consequences of work is a defining principle of the C text, and that L, ‘driven to revise the poem in the light of B’s bitter conclusion’ (p. 105), shaped the C text to reflect the ‘tension between faith and works, between mercy and justice, [and] between the needs of the individual and the needs of society’ (p. 68). Discussing each of the visions, Clutterbuck calls attention to major differences between the B and C texts, particularly instances that show an increased focus on the necessary kyndeness of work on behalf of the comune (p. 72). She ascribes C’s ‘strongly linear narrative’ (p. 104) to the tension between the hope for mercy and the promise of divine justice, and suggests that L’s ‘moderation of heretical opinions expressed in B’ reinforces C’s affirmation of church ideals (p. 109).
Book rev. by:
- Conor McCarthy, Medium Ævum, 76 (2007), 329–30.