ABSTRACT

Between writing the “Short” and the “Long” versions of the Revelations of Divine Love, Julian of Norwich might have read Piers Plowman. This article argues that Julian learned from Langland something about how to use narrative as part of her exploration and reformulation of the complex and seemingly contradictory theology of the Fall and redemption, focusing on the remarkably similar ways in which Langland and Julian narrate the Fall in, respectively, the tree of charite sequence and the lord and servant example. In each case, a narrative of eager, loving desire leads seemingly accidentally, and yet apparently inevitably, to a disastrous “fall.” Julian may have discovered in Piers Plowman a method of engaging with the conceptual challenges posed by the problematic relationship between the human will and recuperative divine love.

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