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Reading Piers Plowman and the pilgrim's progress : reception and the Protestant reader

Author: Barbara A Johnson
Publisher: Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, ©1992.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
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  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Johnson, Barbara A.
Reading Piers Plowman and The pilgrim's progress.
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, ©1992
(OCoLC)645831703
Named Person: William Langland; John Bunyan; William Langland; John Bunyan; John Bunyan; William Langland; William Langland; John Bunyan
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Barbara A Johnson
ISBN: 0809316536 9780809316533
OCLC Number: 24373047
Description: x, 318 pages ; 23 cm
Responsibility: Barbara A. Johnson.
More information:

Abstract:

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. The reception of these two works, revealing as it does changing ideas concerning the nature and status of books as well as the stature of authors, documents the means by which a culture shapes and is shaped by texts. 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. Conditioned more by religious, historical, and economic forces than 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.

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