Title Background

Maledictus Qui Non Reliquit Semen’: The Curse on Infertility in <i>Piers Plowman</i> B.XVI and C.XVIII.

Maledictus Qui Non Reliquit Semen’: The Curse on Infertility in Piers Plowman B.XVI and C.XVIII.

Proposes as a source for the curse on infertility the fourteenth-century lectiones for the feast of St. Anne that developed into the extant fifteenthand sixteenth-century versions of the Hereford Breviary. Independent variants of the monitory precept that WL might have known include those in Jerome’s Adversus Jovinianum and John Damascene’s De Fide Orthodoxa, which interpret the ban on infertility tropologically as a command to spiritual fruitfulness (as does WL in his C-text revision of the lines), and those in the apocryphal accounts of Mary’s conception, which see Sarah and Abraham as prefiguring Anne and Joachim. WL likewise emphasizes lawful, spiritually productive love between spouses, and not offspring per se.

Volume

ALE 58 (1989): 117-23.

Author

Tavormina, M. Teresa.