Catalogue


Reading Piers Plowman and The pilgrim's progress : reception and the Protestant reader /
Barbara A. Johnson.
imprint
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c1992.
description
x, 318 p. ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0809316536
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c1992.
isbn
0809316536
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
2899973
 
Bibliography: p. 293-308.
A Look Inside
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This item was reviewed in:
University Press Book News, December 1992
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Summaries
Main Description
Centering her discussion on two historical "ways of reading"which she calls the Protestant and the letteredBarbara A. Johnson traces the development of a Protestant readership as it is reflected in the reception of Langland'sPiers Plowmanand Bunyan'sPilgrim's Progress. Informed by reader-response and reception theory and literacy and cultural studies, Johnson's ambitious examination of these two ostensibly literary texts charts the cultural roles they played in the centuries following their composition, roles far more important than their modern critical reputations can explain. Johnson argues that much more evidence exists about how earlier readers read than has hitherto been acknowledged. The reception ofPiers Plowman,for example, can be inferred from references to the work, the apparatus its Renaissance printer inserted in his editions, the marginal comments readers inscribed both in printed editions and in manuscripts, and the apocryphal "plowman" texts that constitute interpretations of Langland's poem. She demonstrates by example that what is culturally transmitted has not been just the work itself; it includes vestiges of past readers' encounters with the text that are traceable both in the way a text is presented as well as in the way that presentation is received. Conditioned more by religious, historical, and economic forces than by literary concerns, Langland's poem became a part of the reformist tradition that culminated in Bunyan'sPilgrim's Progress.By understanding this tradition, Bunyan's place in it, and the way the reception ofThe Pilgrim's Progressillustrates the beginning of a new, more realistic fictional tradition, Johnson concludes, we can begin to delineate a more accurate history of the ways literature and society intersect, a history of readers reading.
Main Description
Centering her discussion on two historical "ways of reading"--which she calls the Protestant and the lettered--Barbara A. Johnson traces the development of a Protestant readership as it is reflected in the reception of Langland'sPiers Plowmanand Bunyan'sPilgrim's Progress.Informed by reader-response and reception theory and literacy and cultural studies, Johnson's ambitious examination of these two ostensibly literary texts charts the cultural roles they played in the centuries following their composition, roles far more important than their modern critical reputations can explain.Johnson argues that much more evidence exists about how earlier readers read than has hitherto been acknowledged. The reception ofPiers Plowman,for example, can be inferred from references to the work, the apparatus its Renaissance printer inserted in his editions, the marginal comments readers inscribed both in printed editions and in manuscripts, and the apocryphal "plowman" texts that constitute interpretations of Langland's poem. She demonstrates by example that what is culturally transmitted has not been just the work itself; it includes vestiges of past readers' encounters with the text that are traceable both in the way a text is presented as well as in the way that presentation is received.Conditioned more by religious, historical, and economic forces than by literary concerns, Langland's poem became a part of the reformist tradition that culminated in Bunyan'sPilgrim's Progress.By understanding this tradition, Bunyan's place in it, and the way the reception ofThe Pilgrim's Progressillustrates the beginning of a new, more realistic fictional tradition, Johnson concludes, we can begin to delineate a more accurate history of the ways literature and society intersect, a history of readers reading.
Main Description
Centering her discussion on two historical "ways of reading"--which she calls the Protestant and the lettered--Barbara A. Johnson traces the development of a Protestant readership as it is reflected in the reception of Langland's Piers Plowman and Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Informed by reader-response and reception theory and literacy and cultural studies, Johnson's ambitious examination of these two ostensibly literary texts charts the cultural roles they played in the centuries following their composition, roles far more important than their modern critical reputations can explain. Johnson argues that much more evidence exists about how earlier readers read than has hitherto been acknowledged. The reception of Piers Plowman, for example, can be inferred from references to the work, the apparatus its Renaissance printer inserted in his editions, the marginal comments readers inscribed both in printed editions and in manuscripts, and the apocryphal "plowman" texts that constitute interpretations of Langland's poem. She demonstrates by example that what is culturally transmitted has not been just the work itself; it includes vestiges of past readers' encounters with the text that are traceable both in the way a text is presented as well as in the way that presentation is received. Conditioned more by religious, historical, and economic forces than by literary concerns, Langland's poem became a part of the reformist tradition that culminated in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. By understanding this tradition, Bunyan's place in it, and the way the reception of The Pilgrim's Progress illustrates the beginning of a new, more realistic fictional tradition, Johnson concludes, we can begin to delineate a more accurate history of the ways literature and society intersect, a history of readers reading.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Tracing the History of Reading Through the History of Booksp. 1
Puritan and Protestant Paradigms For Readingp. 29
Lollards, Reformers, and the Figure Of Piers Plowmanp. 63
A Protestant Reader Reads Piers Plowmanp. 99
The Prefacep. 101
"Peres Became a Protestande" Renaissance Readings of Piers Plowmanp. 128
Reconfiguring Bunyan and His Book Within A Protestant Paradigm for Readingp. 161
The Pilgrim's Progress as A "Perspective Glass" for Readersp. 211
Notesp. 253
Bibliographyp. 293
Indexp. 309
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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