Title Background

Imaginative Prophecy in the B-Text of <i>Piers Plowman</i>.

Imaginative Prophecy in the B-Text of Piers Plowman.

WL represents the dreamer’s sleep, dreams, images, thoughts, imagination, etc. with a depth psychology founded on Avicenna’s understanding of Aristotle. Seven interrelated features of this depth psychology illuminate the structure and meaning of the first vision of the Vita: “vis cogitativa” (ME “Thou@t”) and “vis imaginativa” (ME Imaginatif) refer to the same power; when joined to “appetitus” (ME “wil”) in sleep, the “vis cogitativa” and the “vis imaginativa” create visions of awe; the “vis imaginativa” appears in sleep and inner dreams. This latter faculty prophesies in inner dreams by turning images into speakers; it produces shame in Will; it appears and disappears suddenly; and in between its appearance and disappearance, Will learns an innate syllogistic. Avicenna’s psychology of the perfection of prophecy by the “vis imaginativa” likewise accounts for Will’s mental acts in B 13-20. Will perfects natural prophecy by the “vis imaginativa secundum Avicennam” in seven steps of ascent: (1) a vision by the “vis cogitativa” and “vis imaginativa” (B 8-12); (2) an inner dream by the mirror and face of Anima (11.6-406); (3) perfection of the concupiscible and irascible appetites (B 13-14); (4) perfection of the “vis imaginativa” by vision through the “vis activa” (13.221-14.334a); (5) ascent to the “virtus contemplativa” and vision through “sanctus intellectus” (15.162-17.356); (6) a “higher” inner dream by the “higher” mirror and face of Anima (16.19-167); (7) conferral of the “virtus sancta” (19.215-18).

Rev. Lawrence M. Clopper, JEGP 93 (1994): 567-70; Patrick J. Gallacher, YLS 8 (1994): 199-203; G. A. Lester, ES 75 (1994): 388-90; M. Teresa Tavormina, Speculum 69 (1994): 1190-93; Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, MLR 90 (1995): 228-31; Andrew Galloway, The Chaucer Yearbook 4 (1997): 150-56.