Cleanness is the second of the four poems of the Pearl manuscript, a fourteenth century work contemporaneous with Chaucer, Langland and Gower. Cleanness tells several stories, all related by theme – the disastrous consequences of uncleanness, and the good fortune to be had by being clean. The poet carefully constructs a complex accumulation of stories and examples, whose main source is the Old Testament. The three major stories are the Flood, then Sodom and Gomorrah, followed by Belshazzar’s Feast. All examples encourage the reader to pursue cleanness (both purity in a moral sense and in a practical sense hygiene and etiquette) through a negative exemplum, which describes the evil conduct of the unclean and the punishment they suffer. God appears periodically as lord of a court, or prince - a humanized God who explains his motives and expresses his feelings; this contrasts with the graphic accounts of divine retribution as a consequence of his overwhelming wrath at man’s failings.
The near-literal prose translation is designed to facilitate understanding, and is faithfully based on Andrew and Waldron’s fifth edition of The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript. This audio edition, expertly read by Professor Sarah Peverley, includes the unaltered introduction to Poems of the Pearl Manuscript in Modern English Prose Translation, and Cleanness itself.
Malcolm Andrew was previously Professor of English Language and Literature at Queen's University Belfast.
Ronald Waldron was previously a lecturer and Emeritus Reader in English Language and Medieval Literature at King's College, University of London.
Professor Sarah Peverley is a medievalist, broadcaster, and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker. She teaches at the University of Liverpool and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Joshua Lambie is studying Classics at the University of Liverpool. He played the part of the Green Knight in a production of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in 2018.
- Price: £9.99
- ISBN: 9781789627930
- Copyright Year: 2019
- Runtime: 02:09:24
- Language: English