Nede ne hath no lawe’: Poverty and the De-stabilization of Allegory in the Final Visions of Piers Plowman.
This study examines the ways in which the pressures of circumstantial history, most vividly expressed in the figure of Need, de-stabilize the idealizing, hierarchizing powers of allegory in the final visions of PPl by forcing our attention to an historically immediate material world, to the literal level of the sign-by advertising the disparity between real and ideal, signifier and signified. The essay argues that in its figuration of God’s need for us as a kind of mutual devouring, Need provides for a means of reaching at once through and beyond the rift within allegory and is, finally, a means of redeeming the mode, of providing meaning within the epistemological void constitutive of allegorical discourse. [KHS]
Hewett-Smith, Book of Essays 233-53.
Hewett-Smith, Kathleen M.