Life on the Manor and in Rural Space: Answering the Challenges of Social Decay in William Langland’s Piers Plowman
This essay reads PPl as a ‘vision of rural ethics’ (p. 352), a set of principles that are embodied in the multivalent figure of Piers the Plowman. Pigg focuses on two scenes of social and spiritual conflict that L imagines in terms of a decaying rural economy, the plowing of Piers’ half acre in the Visio and the foundation of the Church as a barn in the Vita. Piers’ virtues hearken back to an idealized feudal world that is passing away and represent for L ‘the last great hope’ for the social ills of post-Plague England (p. 366).
in Rural Space in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age: The Spatial Turn in Premodern Studies, ed. by Albrecht Classen (Berlin, Germany: de Gruyter, 2012), pp. 351-66.
Pigg, Daniel F.