Lyrical or Learned Langland (ICMS/Medieval Congress/Kalamazoo '12)
Panels on Piers Plowman at the International Medieval Congress
I. Lyrical Langland From dream vision, to sermon literature, to legal and bureaucratic writ, Piers Plowman famously brings together a range of late-medieval genres. This panel will take up one of the poem’s less explored generic affiliations: the medieval lyric. This session seeks to offer a set of fresh perspectives on the relationship between lyric poetry and Piers Plowman. Papers might situate Piers Plowman in the context of contemporary lyric production, consider the relationship between specific religious and/or secular lyric genres and Piers Plowman, examine the place of inset lyrics in the larger poem, and/or explore the relationships among lyric and other genres in the poem. Papers might also take up larger methodological and contextual questions about lyric or genre, such as by exploring the place of Piers Plowman in the “lyric turn” in recent criticism.
II. Learned Langland Aristotle appears in a number of different guises in Piers Plowman: as a reluctant schoolboy, as an example of excessive learning and fallen pride, and (twice) as a virtuous pagan whose ultimate fate is a matter of both wonder and debate. This panel invites papers that examine any one of the roles that Aristotle and/or scholastic works play in Piers Plowman. What is the status of Aristotelian science in the poem, given Will’s assertion that Aristotle himself “now wonyeth in pyne”–as well as Ymaginatif’s insistence on calling this orthodoxy into question? How does Langland present specific Aristotelian sciences, such as logic and ethics? For instance, might we see Langland’s personification allegories as tools for developing the Aristotelian master virtue of prudence–for thinking through the likely consequences of action before acting?