Probing spatial questions about God posed by Piers Plowman, the author of this interdisciplinary study turns to pictorial evidence-the use of religious space and relationships within such space in English art of the same period. The Place of God in Piers Plowman and Medieval Art is not only a study of the sense of God and of the relationship between God and creatures in the great religious poem, but also an analysis of art works of the high Middle Ages, especially English manuscript illuminations, in their placement of God. Such interdisciplinary analysis historicizes both literature and art, uncovering ways that medieval people imagined God and the understandings that they would have been able to bring to reading and viewing religious art.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Heaven and earth: Horizontal and vertical views; God’s body; Within; God in the community; Imagining the place and presence of God; Appendix: Proper names of places in Piers Plowman:a tally; Bibliography; Index.
'Through its reference to visual art, Davlin's book adds a powerful reading of Piers Plowman to current critical debate... in its subtlety of expression and complexity of argument, [Davlin's] book will contribute effectively and powerfully to the critical conversation about the poem.' Professor Louise Bishop, University of Oregon
'... offers some truly original insights into the world of Piers Plowman.' Bulletin Codicologique
'This book is particularly useful for those who have read the poem and who are familiar with medieval thought and art, but the clear exposition of the art and text make it accessible to non-specialists as well.' Religious Studies Review
'Sr. Mary Davlin's aim, to locate and position her topic within the text and the visual culture constituting its environment, is accomplished with lucidity and finesse. Though her close focus on the poet's language is informed by extensive reference to art and sociology, it is jargon-free and original without being tendentious. With footnotes of sometimes heroic length and 25 half-tone illustrations forming an integral part of the argument, it worthily reflects its dedicatee Charles Muscatine's wide-ranging vision of medieval aesthetics and style... many brilliant comments... Davlin's basic approach is thoroughly justified and displays exemplary balance in its use of many different kinds of evidence and sensitive inwardness with the poet's thought and sensibility... This is perhaps the most enlightening book on Piers Plowman for a decade, and it deserves to be widely read and carefully pondered.' Anglia