GSEP 11: Forcing Nature: Essays in Medieval Literature
In the dominant world-view of the Western Middle Ages, natura evoked divine power as manifested in creation. Nature was an all-pervasive force, synonymous with God and his visible handiwork, but also a cosmic principle associated with fate and predestination in the Neoplatonic tradition. This volume of student essays tackles nature in a range of physical and metaphysical guises, always centred on its representation in medieval English literature. It contains studies of the visible natural world in elegiac, homiletic, and apocalyptic literature, but it also addresses other faces of nature, from the naked human form to the medieval reception of ancient ideas about free will, and closes with a comparative analysis of the nature of wisdom in Old English and The Lord of the Rings.