The Transformation of Meaning: A Figure of Thought in Piers Plowman.
Explores Langland’s poetic habit of using words with earthly referents in situations that describe spiritual realities. Finds this in contexts of exhortation (e.g. the speech of Reason, B.4), where unexpected words are given a spiritual dimension; in contexts intended as satire (e.g. Schmidt, B.5.234) where the spiritual force of a word is deliberately contracted in favor of the negative force of the image; and in contexts intended neither for praise nor blame, but rather to designate a spiritual reality by transforming, rather than rejecting, the meaning of reality.
RES ns 37 (1986): 161-83.