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Journal Article

Paul's Rapture and Will's Vision: The Problem of Imagination in Langland's Life of Christ

Jennifer L.Sisk
The Chaucer Review
Vol. 48, No. 4, SPECIAL ISSUE Thinking Historically after Historicism: Essays in Memory of Lee Patterson (2014), pp. 395-412
DOI: 10.5325/chaucerrev.48.4.0395
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/chaucerrev.48.4.0395
Page Count: 18
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Paul's Rapture and Will's Vision:
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Abstract

This article examines Langland's allusion to Paul's rapture (2 Cor. 12:4), which interrupts Christ's speech in Piers Plowman B.18/C.20, and explores the significance of these words in relation to Augustine's taxonomy of visionary types in De Genesi ad litteram. The citation draws attention to Will's experience as an example of visio spiritualis, which relies on the vis imaginativa, a faculty of mind deemed by medieval thinkers both spiritually useful and dangerous. Langland negotiates the delicate balance between imagination's profits and perils with respect to both lay devotional practice and poetic composition.

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