IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 1119: Nature and Religion in Piers Plowman

Wednesday 9 July 2008, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Curtis Jirsa, Department of English, Hamilton College, New York
Paper 1119-aExploration of Wilderness in Piers Plowman through the Latin Bible Quotations
(Language: English)
Gail Lesley Blick, School of English, Communication & Philosophy, Cardiff University
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Language and Literature - Latin
Paper 1119-cThe 'Kynde' Creator: God as Nature in Piers Plowman and Le Château d'amour
(Language: English)
Rebecca Davis, Department of English, McDaniel College, Maryland
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Lay Piety

Paper -a:
Biblically, wilderness is associated with spiritual desert. Interspersing Vulgate quotations among the vernacular, Piers Plowman intertextually demonstrates these connections through the biblical quotations’ contexts (e.g. B.IX.62a cf. Phil.3:19: surrounding verses in Philippians exhibit the original idea of pilgrimage: the exile’s journey through alien country, the unnatural place, towards perfect nature, heaven). Medieval readers might be expected to recognize Bible references but recent critics often leave biblical contexts a neglected area. This paper argues that the wilderness theme as expressed in Philippians is intrinsic to the poem and illustrates generally how Langland’s ‘voice in the wilderness’ sounds through certain Bible quotations.

Paper -c:
This paper examines Langland’s close association of God and nature in the figure Kynde, exploring the possibility that God’s appearance as nature naturante in Robert Grosseteste’s Anglo-Norman poem Château d’amour influenced Langland’s Kynde. In Piers Plowman God as Kynde is an involved creator, intimately concerned with the formation and sustenance of the human body as well as the rest of creation. This paper explores parallels between Langland’s and Grosseteste’s conceptions of God’s creativity, their elevation of the value of the natural world, and their stances regarding the use of the vernacular, or ‘kynde,’ language in matters of faith.