Friar Flatterer: Glossing and the Hermeneutics of Flattery in Piers Plowman
Throughout PPl, L explores the intersections between the interpretive practice of glossing and the rhetorical practice of flattery, particularly as exemplified by friars and minstrels. This essay situates these problems within historical controversies over mendicant hermeneutics and argues that the operations of pastoral care in the poem show bad interpretation and social corruption to be closely related in L’s world. Debates about the legitimacy of friars and minstrels shape the poem’s investigation of its own status as a literary fiction that demands interpretation, as well as L’s attempts to delineate a spiritually sound practice of minstrelsy. (AW)
YLS, 21 (2007), 57–76.