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Arts of DyingLiterature and Finitude in Medieval England$
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D. Vance Smith

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226640853

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226641041.001.0001

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The “Deth-dyinge” of Will: Piers Plowman

The “Deth-dyinge” of Will: Piers Plowman

Chapter:
(p.131) Chapter Seven The “Deth-dyinge” of Will: Piers Plowman
Source:
Arts of Dying
Author(s):

D. Vance Smith

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226641041.003.0008

The B Text of Piers Plowman contains a surprisingly conventional repertoire of tropes about death. But by placing "Death" at the edge of the field the C Text suggests that death is a more fundamental problem throughout the poem. The salvation of the just pagan Trajan demonstrates the permeability of the boundaries of death; Trajan's famous disavowal of books is a figure of the cryptic presence of death in the poem itself.

Keywords:   William Langland, Piers Plowman, just pagans, theology of salvation, allegory, crypt

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