Title Background

Medieval to Renaissance English Poetry.

Medieval to Renaissance English Poetry.

Numerous incidental references. WL is mentioned with regard to the question of the salvation of the righteous heathen (45). PPl is an example of a general tendency in Chaucer’s age “to question the patriarchal, authoritarian bent of the culture that it inherited” (94-95). WL and Margery Kempe are examples of “writers struggling to find means of centering their works in their personal histories rather than in abstract intellectual schemes” (113). Hoccleve’s persistent use of “small-scale personification” is one of the marks of his style and may indicate the influence of PPl (119). Skelton’s “Colyn Clout” reminds one of PPl in the way that its general diffuseness repeatedly resolves itself, in specific situations, into a sharp focus (232). Despite Augustine’s theory in De doctrina Christiana (that obscurity is an aesthetic virtue), most medieval allegories are self-interpreting and quite accessible. PPl is an exception. Although interpretive activity takes place within the poem, many of WL’s allegories are obscure -not because he sought to veil the truth but because “the truth itself was to him obscure and uncertain” (248-49).


Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.


Spearing, A. C.