Poverty as the Politics of Transcendence in Piers Plowman‘ ,
This essay focuses on the identification of poverty with transcendence in PPl, as a way of exploring the relation between the religious and the socio-political in the poem. It suggests that poverty as transcendence has a political meaning for L and that such a meaning is relevant to the poet’s vision of social change in PPl. In the essay, the author locates such a meaning in the idea of resistance in PPl, which for L informs the way the spiritually righteous engage with political society in this world. Resistance is a form of political engagement that is perennial and ever vigilant. In L’s vision of the religious basis of political action, resistance identifies closely with an unyielding, unfailing opposition to worldly plenitude of power and is underpinned by the celebration of patient poverty and righteous suffering. (MK)
NTU Studies in Language and Literature, 22 (December 2009), 31-55.