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Songes of Rechelesnesse : Langland and the Franciscans /
Lawrence M. Clopper.
imprint
Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 1997.
description
xviii, 368 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0472107445 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 1997.
isbn
0472107445 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
1717838
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 335-356) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-06:
Refuting the view that Langland engages in antifraternal satire, Clopper (Indiana Univ. and director of the Medieval Studies Institute) argues that the mentality of the Franciscan reformers pervades Piers Plowman and that this perspective resolves many of the poem's enigmas. The author establishes the influence of Franciscan ideology by showing that Langland's criticisms of the friars resemble internal rather than external critiques, that his position on such mendicant issues as begging and the poverty of Christ reiterates that of the order's reformers, and that his exemplarist mode of thinking derives from Bonaventure. Clopper then demonstrates that a Franciscan reading of Piers Plowman clarifies many of its puzzles. Langland's portrayal of the various idiotae, for example, recalls the order's fundamental principle of rechelesnesse or lack of solicitude as well as its theory about its role in history. Clopper explains the characterization of Will as a false friar as an appeal to the consciences of the poem's mendicant readers and argues for Langland's own membership in the Franciscan order. Clopper has published extensively on Piers Plowman; here he provides an innovative and convincing interpretation that all upper-division undergraduates and above should have access to. D. N. Baker; University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 1998
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Summaries
Main Description
William Langland's Piers Plowman provides a highly charged picture of England near the end of the fourteenth century, a time of political, religious, and moral crises. The period in which Langland wrote was volatile and full of colorful and contentious people: Edward III, Richard II, Chaucer, Wyclif--and Langland. In "Songes of Rechelesnesse," Lawrence M. Clopper presents the voice of this powerful disputant who lived in a period marked by dissent and discontent. In the late Middle Ages, Franciscan friars had a significant impact on all levels of society. But because of the apparent discrepancy between the poverty the Franciscans claimed and the life they lived, a large body of antifraternal literature arose, including, supposedly, Piers Plowman. Since the sixteenth century, when it was first put into print, Piers Plowman has been understood to be a proto-Protestant work that revealed the failures of the medieval clergy, but especially of the mendicant orders. In "Songes of Rechelesnesse," Clopper establishes the presence of a Franciscan reformist position in Piers Plowman. Clopper maintains that the poem articulates a reformist agenda, presenting the internal Franciscan debate, in a bid to return the order to its initial foundation. Clopper believes that Langland is deeply imbued with a Franciscan mentality that reaches deep into the structure of the poem. It manifests itself at the level of the alliterative long line in his exemplarist poetics and is the source of his imagery and politics. In short Clopper identifies Franciscanism as holding the poem together. "Songes of Rechelesnesse" is a historical, political, and religious history of late fourteenth-century England. It will be of interest to literary scholars, historians of the late Middle Ages, and scholars in religious studies. Lawrence M. Clopper is Director, Medieval Studies Institute, and Professor of English, Indiana University.
Main Description
William Langland'sPiers Plowmanprovides a highly charged picture of England near the end of the fourteenth century, a time of political, religious, and moral crises. The period in which Langland wrote was volatile and full of colorful and contentious people: Edward III, Richard II, Chaucer, Wyclif--and Langland. In "Songes of Rechelesnesse," Lawrence M. Clopper presents the voice of this powerful disputant who lived in a period marked by dissent and discontent. In the late Middle Ages, Franciscan friars had a significant impact on all levels of society. But because of the apparent discrepancy between the poverty the Franciscans claimed and the life they lived, a large body of antifraternal literature arose, including, supposedly,Piers Plowman. Since the sixteenth century, when it was first put into print,Piers Plowmanhas been understood to be a proto-Protestant work that revealed the failures of the medieval clergy, but especially of the mendicant orders. In "Songes of Rechelesnesse," Clopper establishes the presence of a Franciscan reformist position inPiers Plowman. Clopper maintains that the poem articulates a reformist agenda, presenting the internal Franciscan debate, in a bid to return the order to its initial foundation. Clopper believes that Langland is deeply imbued with a Franciscan mentality that reaches deep into the structure of the poem. It manifests itself at the level of the alliterative long line in his exemplarist poetics and is the source of his imagery and politics. In short Clopper identifies Franciscanism as holding the poem together. "Songes of Rechelesnesse" is a historical, political, and religious history of late fourteenth-century England. It will be of interest to literary scholars, historians of the late Middle Ages, and scholars in religious studies. Lawrence M. Clopper is Director, Medieval Studies Institute, and Professor of English, Indiana University.
Main Description
William Langland's Piers Plowmanprovides a highly charged picture of England near the end of the fourteenth century, a time of political, religious, and moral crises. The period in which Langland wrote was volatile and full of colorful and contentious people: Edward III, Richard II, Chaucer, Wyclif--and Langland. In " Songes of Rechelesnesse," Lawrence M. Clopper presents the voice of this powerful disputant who lived in a period marked by dissent and discontent. In the late Middle Ages, Franciscan friars had a significant impact on all levels of society. But because of the apparent discrepancy between the poverty the Franciscans claimed and the life they lived, a large body of antifraternal literature arose, including, supposedly, Piers Plowman. Since the sixteenth century, when it was first put into print, Piers Plowmanhas been understood to be a proto-Protestant work that revealed the failures of the medieval clergy, but especially of the mendicant orders. In " Songes of Rechelesnesse," Clopper establishes the presence of a Franciscan reformist position in Piers Plowman. Clopper maintains that the poem articulates a reformist agenda, presenting the internal Franciscan debate, in a bid to return the order to its initial foundation. Clopper believes that Langland is deeply imbued with a Franciscan mentality that reaches deep into the structure of the poem. It manifests itself at the level of the alliterative long line in his exemplarist poetics and is the source of his imagery and politics. In short Clopper identifies Franciscanism as holding the poem together. " Songes of Rechelesnesse" is a historical, political, and religious history of late fourteenth-century England. It will be of interest to literary scholars, historians of the late Middle Ages, and scholars in religious studies. Lawrence M. Clopper is Director, Medieval Studies Institute, and Professor of English, Indiana University.
Unpaid Annotation
William Langland's "Piers Plowman provides a highly charged picture of England near the end of the fourteenth century, a time of political, religious, and moral crises. The period in which Langland wrote was volatile and full of colorful and contentious people: Edward III, Richard II, Chaucer, Wyclif--and Langland. In ""Songes of Rechelesnesse," Lawrence M. Clopper presents the voice of this powerful disputant who lived in a period marked by dissent and discontent. In the late Middle Ages, Franciscan friars had a significant impact on all levels of society. But because of the apparent discrepancy between the poverty the Franciscans claimed and the life they lived, a large body of antifraternal literature arose, including, supposedly, "Piers Plowman. Since the sixteenth century, when it was first put into print, "Piers Plowman has been understood to be a proto-Protestant work that revealed the failures of the medieval clergy, but especially of the mendicant orders. In ""Songes of Rechelesnesse," Clopper establishes the presence of a Franciscan reformist position in "Piers Plowman. Clopper maintains that the poem articulates a reformist agenda, presenting the internal Franciscan debate, in a bid to return the order to its initial foundation. Clopper believes that Langland is deeply imbued with a Franciscan mentality that reaches deep into the structure of the poem. It manifests itself at the level of the alliterative long line in his exemplarist poetics and is the source of his imagery and politics. In short Clopper identifies Franciscanism as holding the poem together. ""Songes of Rechelesnesse" is a historical, political, and religious history of late fourteenth-centuryEngland. It will be of interest to literary scholars, historians of the late Middle Ages, and scholars in religious studies. Lawrence M. Clopper is Director, Medieval Studies Institute, and Professor of English, Indiana
Table of Contents
Abbreviations
Introduction: Langland's Franciscanismp. 1
Mendicant Debate and Antifraternal Critiquesp. 27
Langland's Friarsp. 69
Langland's Exemplarismp. 105
Trifunctional Images in the Visio and Langland's Politica1 Agendap. 145
Idiotae, viri Apostolici, "Lunatyk Lollares," and Piers the Plowmanp. 181
The Life of Rechelesnesse and the Pursuit of Learningp. 219
Renewal and the Friars' Role in Historyp. 257
"Songes of Rechelesnesse": The Lives of the Poetp. 299
Afterword: Was Langland a Franciscan?p. 325
Works Citedp. 335
Indexp. 357
Subject Indexp. 361
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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