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The signifying power of Pearl : medieval literary and cultural contexts for the transformation of genre

Author: Jane Beal
Publisher: New York : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017. ©2017
Series: Routledge studies in medieval literature and culture, 5.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This book enhances our understanding of the exquisitely beautiful, fourteenth-century, Middle English dream vision poem Pearl. Situating the study in the contexts of medieval literary criticism and contemporary genre theory, Beal argues that the poet intended Pearl to be read at four levels of meaning and in four corresponding genres: literally, an elegy; spiritually, an allegory; morally, a consolation; and  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Jane Beal
ISBN: 1138678074 9781138678071
OCLC Number: 953426729
Description: xxvi, 179 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Contents: Preface Introduction: Signifying 1. Literal Sense: Desiring the Beloved 2. Allegorical Meaning: Rejoicing in Salvation 3. Moral Purpose: Consoling the Heart 4. Anagogical Revelation: Imagining Spiritual Marriage 5. Parable, Fable, Fairy-Tale: Folktale Genre Patterns in Pearl Conclusion: Remembering
Series Title: Routledge studies in medieval literature and culture, 5.
Responsibility: Jane Beal.

Abstract:

This book enhances our understanding of the exquisitely beautiful, fourteenth-century, Middle English dream vision poem Pearl. Situating the study in the contexts of medieval literary criticism and contemporary genre theory, Beal argues that the poet intended Pearl to be read at four levels of meaning and in four corresponding genres: literally, an elegy; spiritually, an allegory; morally, a consolation; and anagogically, a revelation. The book addresses cruxes and scholarly debates about the poem's genre and meaning, including key questions that have been unresolved in Pearl studies for over a century: * What is the nature of the relationship between the Dreamer and the Maiden? * What is the significance of allusions to Ovidian love stories and the use of liturgical time in the poem? * How does avian symbolism, like that of the central symbol of the pearl, develop, transform, and add meaning throughout the dream vision? * What is the nature of God portrayed in the poem, and how does the portrayal of the Maiden's intimate relationship to God, her spiritual marriage to the Lamb, connect to the poet's purpose in writing? Noting that the poem is open to many interpretations, Beal also considers folktale genre patterns in Pearl, including those drawn from parable, fable, and fairy-tale. The conclusion considers Pearl in the light of modern psychological theories of grieving and trauma.

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