The Politics of Consuming Worldly Goods: Negotiating Christian Discipline and Feudal Power in Piers Plowman.’
Kim argues that L’s critique of consumption in PPl is primarily a means of addressing secular political power. She discusses the opposition between the conspicuous displays of wealth in the articulation of feudal power and religious ideals of asceticism, noting the use of Christian abstinence in medieval writing as a rhetorical technique more than as a means for programmatic social reform (p. 350). Kim contrasts the presentation of acquisition and consumption in PPl and Winner and Waster, and discusses L’s rat fable as the portrayal of a political community based on ‘the perpetual tension […] between two species of destructive animals’ (p. 362). She concludes that, though L is concerned with ‘the illegitimate, able-bodied poor’, wasters in positions of social power pose a greater threat because of the broader social consequences of their power (p. 367).
Traditio, 59 (2004), 339–68.