Monday, March 29, 2004

Langland was dismissed as an eccentric, but much of the English genius resides in quixotic or quirky individuals who insist upon the truth of their independent vision in the face almost universal derision. Langland rambles; he wanders into theological speculation and effortlessly mixes the comic and the sublime; he will list the various foodstuffs of the poor, and then has a vision of the crucified Christ. He will portray himself as a dazed and helpless narrator but will then introduce the characters of Do-well, Do-bet and Do-best, who migrated into the imagination of John Bunyan. His genius was in fact of such thoroughly English kind that his work was immediately recognised for what it was; it has the deep momentum of the English imagination.

Peter Ackroyd, Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination (172)

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