Piers Plowman and the Books of Nature by Rebecca DavisPiers Plowman and the Books of Nature by Rebecca Davis

Piers Plowman and the Books of Nature

byRebecca Davis

Hardcover | October 15, 2016

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Piers Plowman and the Books of Nature explores the relationship of divine creativity, poetry, and ethics in William Langland's fourteenth-century dream vision. These concerns converge in the poem's rich vocabulary of kynde, the familiar Middle English word for nature, broadly construed. But ina remarkable coinage, Langland also uses kynde to name nature's creator, who appears as a character in Piers Plowman. The stakes of this representation could not be greater: by depicting God as Kynde, that is, under the guise of creation itself, Langland explores the capacity of nature and oflanguage to bear the plenitude of the divine. In doing so, he advances a daring claim for the spiritual value of literary art, including his own searching form of theological poetry. This claim challenges recent critical attention to the poem's discourses of disability and failure and reveals thepoem's place in a long and diverse tradition of medieval humanism that originates in the twelfth century and, indeed, points forward to celebrations of nature and natural capacity in later periods. By contextualizing Langland's poetics of kynde within contemporary literary, philosophical, legal, andtheological discourses, Rebecca Davis offers a new literary history for Piers Plowman that opens up many of the poem's most perplexing interpretative problems.
Rebecca Davis is Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine. She received her PhD from the University of Notre Dame in 2006. Her work has appeared in the Chaucer Review, Yearbook of Langland Studies, postmedieval, and Studies in the Age of Chaucer. She is currently co-editor of the Yearbook of Langland Studi...
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Title:Piers Plowman and the Books of NatureFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.31 × 0.8 inPublished:October 15, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198778406

ISBN - 13:9780198778400

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Table of Contents

Preface: The Books of NatureIntroduction: The Craft of Kynde1. From Cosmos to Microcosm: Nature, Allegory, Humanism2. 'Fader and formour': Langland's Creator Kynde3. Diverse sigtes: Encyclopedism and Interpretation in Piers Plowman4. Beyond Measure: Langland's Law of Kynde5. 'Fullynge' Kynde: Nature, Salvation, and Human Action in Piers PlowmanEpilogue: Kynde courtesyBibliography