Book Chapter

Poetic Anxiety and Popular Culture in Piers Plowman

S Trigg

Approaches to Teaching Langland's Piers Plowman | MLA | Published : 2018

Abstract

This contribution explores some of the issues around poetic register and authorial voice in Piers Plowman. Langland evinces considerable anxiety about his role as poet and the activity of making poetry. While he seems tempted to describe “makyng” as a legitimate form of labour, he is perpetually troubled about the association of poetry with more popular forms of minstrelsy and popular culture whose dominant associations are with idleness and mere entertainment for its own sake. Studying the semantics and discursive traditions surrounding different kinds of poetry in the Middle Ages, as well as the nature of intellectual labor, can give students a deeper understanding of Langland’s writerly ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers