Title Background

Til I Gan Awake’: The Conversion of Dreamer into Narrator in <i>Piers Plowman</i> B.

Til I Gan Awake’: The Conversion of Dreamer into Narrator in Piers Plowman B.

The confessional form of the opening of PPl presupposes that its speaker has achieved contrition necessary for a valid confession; the point at which this has occurred, however, is not the Easter awakening, the importance of which is shown not to have been assimilated in the dreamer’s subsequent actions. Will nowhere fulfills the canonical requirement for a Lenten confession and there is no Easter communion. The dreamer’s perspective has undergone no radical shift by the end of B.18, and Will still requires the instruction of Conscience. B.20.383, with its main alliteration on gan, suggests a distinctly climactic, actively penitential emphasis. Moral laxity, often associated with sleep, gives way at the end of B.20 to uninterrupted waking, and memorial written records of B.19 are replaced by confession of mouth.

Volume

YLS 5 (1991): 175-92.

Author

Vaughan, Míceál.