Title Background

Form and Continuity in the Alliterative Tradition: Cruciform Design and Double Birth in Two Stanzaic Poems.

Form and Continuity in the Alliterative Tradition: Cruciform Design and Double Birth in Two Stanzaic Poems.

The Dispute between Mary and the Cross and The Foure Leues of the Trewlufe, both poems in thirteen-line stanzas employing alliteration, develop the planctus Mariae conventions with similar and apparently innovative poetic structures: both re-enact a metaphoric “birth” at the center with an actual opening of gates; both rely on chiasmic symmetry of paired antitheses and parallels as if to imitate the shape of the Cross; and both complete their expositions in exactly forty stanzas (forty symbolizing the fourness of the Cross’s shape and also representing the biblical period of exile in the wilderness).

Volume

MLQ 53 (1992): 100-25.

Author

Fein, Susanna Greer.