Personification Power and the Body in Late Medieval and Early Modern English Poetry, Power and the Body in Late Medieval and Early Modern English Poetry
PPl‘s Hunger and Philargyrie from Robert Crowley’s Philargyrie of Greate Britayne exemplify the capacity of prosopopeia to consolidate the material relations that bind individuals within complex systems of land, labor, and power. This is a different type of personification than the kinds that grant human form to ‘abstract ideas’ or ‘actual, historical persons,’ to use Angus Fletcher’s influential definition of prosopopeia. Fletcher’s types cover a great deal of literary personification, but they do not encompass attempts to personify the material conditions in which ‘actual, historical persons’ exist, and within which ‘abstract ideas’ are expressed. This third type of personification, which this article finds in the work of L and Crowley, represents how political actors, economic processes, and environmental conditions determine how people actually live. In short, these personifications embody that which acts on people’s bodies.
Personification: Embodying Meaning and Emotion, ed. by Walter S. Melion and Bart Ramaker (Leiden: Brill, 2016), pp. 95–120