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Dreaming of Heaven: Portrayals of Heaven in Three Fourteenth-Century Works: Pearl, Piers Plowman and Revelations of Divine Love

By Carina Janse


This thesis concerns Pearl, Piers Plowman, and Revelations of Divine Love, three works dating from the latter half of the fourteenth century. The works are different at first sight since besides varying in length, they also vary in form: Pearl is written in alliterative lines, Piers Plowman in alliterative verse and Revelations of Divine Love in prose. Still they share the same focus. The works compared in this thesis are dreams and visions which deal with portrayals of life and afterlife. The message coming forth from all three works is that '[t]he soul must not be attached to earthly treasure if it is to attain the Kingdom of God'. Shaping this conviction into a story, three pieces of literature were created, which all present this message in their own way. Piers Plowman\u92s major concern is how life on earth should be a search for Truth; it discusses society and its corruption, as well as offering an answer to the question \u91How do I save my soul?\u92 Instead of relying on a Pardon, people are advised to do well. With a lengthy discussion on Heaven\u92s standards in Pearl, a medieval view of Heaven is portrayed. The story describes the Heavenly afterlife of a girl who died at an early age. The dreamer\u92s astonishment and questions help to draw the picture of medieval views on life and Heaven. Julian of Norwich\u92s Revelations of Divine Love relate of Julian\u92s insights in Heaven and depict the place where the Trinity resides. The conclusions she draws after having received the revelations, provide insight into the spiritual life of a medieval woman. Research Question: How is Heaven depicted in the fourteenth-century literary works Piers Plowman, Pearl and Revelations of Divine Love

Topics: Letteren
Year: 2005
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