Conscience and the Composition of Piers Plowman by Sarah WoodConscience and the Composition of Piers Plowman by Sarah Wood

Conscience and the Composition of Piers Plowman

bySarah Wood

Hardcover | June 17, 2012

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Conscience and the Composition of Piers Plowman provides a detailed account of one of the central personified figures in William Langland's Piers Plowman. Previous critical accounts of Conscience either focus on discussions of the faculty conscience in scholastic discourse, or eschewpersonification allegory as a useful category in order to argue for the figure's development or education as a character during the poem. But Conscience only appears to develop as he is re-presented, in the course of Piers Plowman, within a series of different literary modes. And he changes not only during the composition of the various episodes in different modes that make up the single version, but also during the composition of the poem as a series of three different versions. The versions of Piers Plowman form, this book argues, a single continuous narrative orargument, in which revisions to Conscience's role in one version are predicated upon his cumulative 'experiences' in the earlier versions. Drawing on a variety of materials in both Middle English and Latin, Sarah Wood illustrates the wide range of contemporary discourses Langland employed as hecomposed Conscience in the three versions of the poem. By showing how Langland transformed Conscience as he composed the A, B and C texts, Conscience and the Composition of Piers Plowman offers a new approach to reading the serial versions of the poem. While the versions of Piers Plowman havecustomarily been presented and read in parallel-text formats, Wood shows that Langland's revisions are newly comprehensible if the three versions are read in sequence.
Sarah Wood completed her Masters and D.Phil. at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She currently teaches Old and Middle English literature at University College London.
Title:Conscience and the Composition of Piers PlowmanFormat:HardcoverDimensions:230 pagesPublished:June 17, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199653763

ISBN - 13:9780199653768


Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsList of abbreviationsNote on the textIntroduction: Conscience and personification in Piers Plowman1. 'Who may scape te sclaundre': Scandal, complaint and invective in B 3-42. Penitential texts and vernacular Conscience in B 13-143. 'Ecce rex': Conscience and homiletic discourse in B 194. 'To a lord for a lettre leue to haue': Conscience and the friars in B 205. New modes in the C text: Clerical 'suffraunce' and vernacular counsel6. Conscience in the versions of Piers PlowmanConclusion: Conscience and the composition of Piers PlowmanBibliography