Imaginative Prophecy in the B-Text of Piers Plowman

Series: Piers Plowman Studies (v. 8)
The psychology underlying Passus 8-20 of Piers Plowmanremains unexplored in its entirety, despite single articles on separate psychological personifications. Professor Kaulbach aims to remedy this huge gap in our understanding of Langland's poem, by adducing a psychology which not only illuminates previously mysterious relations between psychological actants, but also reveals that many apparently non-psychological figures (Piers Plowman, for example) are best explained by reference to psychological theory. The body of psychological theory on which the author draws is that of Arabic, specifically Avicennan theory of the prophetic mental act, the `vis imaginativa' or `ymaginatif' in Middle English. Beyond the original interpretative insights offered by this book Professor Kaulbach also describes the intellectual and manuscript context in which Arabic psychology was made available to a late fourteenth century English poet. ERNEST N. KAULBACHis Associate Professor of English, Classics and (occasionally) Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin.