Piers Plouhman [sic] and the ‘formidable array of blackletter’ in the Early Nineteenth Century
Thomas Dunham Witaker’s 1813 edition of PPl visibly archaizes the poem through its use of a blackletter font and medieval orthography. This article argues that Whitaker’s decision to mark the poem’s historical distance through these conventions is related to his insistence in the Introductory Discourse on the poem’s Catholicism (pace Crowley and the poem’s Renaissance readers). Under the imminent threat of Catholic Emancipation, also mentioned by Whitaker, the poem’s Catholicism is too charged to be allowed to inhabit the present; it must therefore be visibly relegated to England’s past. [SAK]
In Illuminating Letters: Typography and Literary Interpretation, ed. Paul C. Gutjahr and Megan L. Benton. University of Massachusetts, 2001. 47-67.
Kelen, Sarah. A.