Title Background

<i>Piers Plowman</i>: Indirect Relations and the Record of Truth.

Piers Plowman: Indirect Relations and the Record of Truth.

WL considers the proper understanding and use of language as vital to salvation, with etymology sometimes illuminating meaning and correct grammar an analogue to the divine ordering of the cosmos. Conscience’s grammatical metaphor (C.3) shows the theological formation of analogies, in which direct relations are truthful, rational and stable, and indirect relations are associated with rebellious promiscuity or irresponsible detachment. Yet indirection is explained in terms that anticipate the description of the Incarnation, and some indirect relationships are grammatically correct. Most of the personifications in PPl derived from Latin feminine nouns are masculine, and gender is often unstable. The consistency assumed in the grammatical analogy to be desirable is actually at odds with WL’s linguistic practice. Divinely authoritative texts “seem to lose their power to direct,” and some of the doubts about the problematic narrator focus on his rarely being in “direct” relationships.