Patterns and Points

One of the questions posed in our reading for today dealt with the possibility f intertextuality. In some cases the Piers manuscript uses idioms which seem to echo another Manuscript the Chorister’s. In certain passages of the Chorister the author uses idioms which occur in Piers some year later. The reading suggests that there are two possibilities hear: either Langland is referencing the work in Chorister or he is referencing and idiom that this other author also referenced because they were both clerks running in circles in which the idioms were common. Personally I find it hard to decide which of these possibilities were more likely. Langland is proven to favor intertextuality, the reading suggests that Piers is a distillation of works Langland read as a child and an adult (as all writer do he used what he knew). But would it have been ore likely that he heard these idiom’s by word of mouth. What is interesting to me is that for the first time I am realizing that Langland (and writers like him) exist in a world of multimedia: oral and written. Langland derived his speech from his people and his books: that way it is impossible to tell which propagated certain features of his text. Today we live like this, being bombarded with idioms and phrases which are outside our dialect, which we use just as readily as we might some words more natural to our dialect. I think it is fascinating that or book traces the way Langland might or might not have been influenced by his surroundings.

1 thought on “Patterns and Points

  1. One of the things that I find myself thinking about most in this class is just how related and interconnected Medieval scribes were. I don’t know how much information is available on this question, but I wonder what kind of schools existed that were designated for the education of scribes, and how closely-linked those centers were. If schools for scribes were in close contact with each other, and the practice of creating poetry/manuscripts was fairly standardized then it would totally make sense to see the repetition of forms and expressions (like what you’re referencing in your post). But if things were more “spread out”–scribes learned and applied writing techniques based on less standardized systems of education, then the echoing of idioms in “Piers” from “The Chorister” becomes much more interesting to me. It becomes testament to how easily influenced people are by different cultural texts that surround them.

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