Title Background

Readings in Medieval Poetry.

Readings in Medieval Poetry.

A revised version of “Langland’s Poetry: Some Notes in Critical Analysis.” LSE ns 14 (1983): 182-95. Examines B. 1. 179-209 in terms of WL’s use of simple and ordinary diction and the concrete realization of abstract ideas in scenes and objects of daily life; B.5.135-63 as an example of WL’s presentation of allegorical formulations that are provisional; and B. 12.131-53 as a characteristic juxtaposition of the prosaic and the wildly imaginative. Sees the Pardon scene as “deconstructive” in that it challenges the link between signifier and signified: Piers tears the pardon in a recognition of its inadequacy as a sign. In B.16, the Tree of Charity scene, the allegory is similarly exploded by the impossibility of its containing a transcendent meaning. God, the transcendent signified, “can be read only through the contradictions and the final exhaustion and evaporation of the human signifier.”

Rev. Joerg O. Fichte, SAC 11 (1989): 290-93; Michael L. Hall, Envoi 1 (1989): 445-48; George Jack, ES 70 (1989): 83-84; A. V. C. Schmidt, MÆ 58 (1989):147-49; Siegfried Wenzel, JEGP 88 (1989): 390-91; Stephan Kohl, Anglia 108 (1990): 214-18; John J. Thompson, RES 41 (1990): 108-09; Peter W. Travis, Speculum 65 (1990): 1055-58; David Williams, MLR 85 (1990): 401-04.


Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. 216-45.


Spearing, A. C.