Soul-making in Piers Plowman

Robertson, E. (2020) Soul-making in Piers Plowman. Yearbook of Langland Studies, 34, pp. 11-56. (doi: 10.1484/J.YLS.5.121086)

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Piers Plowman charts the protagonist Will’s ‘soul- making’ (in a Keatsian sense). Through all his encounters, including those with images of the soul as a lady in a castle, a ‘thing’, a tree, and a plow, Will becomes ‘informed’, manifesting aspects of the soul described by Augustine and Aquinas, but ultimately as understood in voluntarist thought in which will predominates over reason. While the poem draws on the latest theological debates about the soul, including disputes concerning the autonomy and ethical demands of the conscience, it is the poetry itself — especially through its Adornian negative dialectical method — that most fully expresses the making of a soul governed by an ineffable will.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robertson, Professor Elizabeth
Authors: Robertson, E.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Journal Name:Yearbook of Langland Studies
Publisher:Brepols Publishers
ISSN (Online):2031-0242
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Brepolis Publishers
First Published:First published in Yearbook of Langland Studies 34: 11-56
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
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