Fordham PhD Alum Publishes Book on Piers Plowman

Fordham alum Arvind Thomas (PhD 2010) is receiving accolades for his new book (from Toronto University Press) Piers Plowman and the Reinvention of Church Law in the Late Middle Ages, which asks the question, “To what extent does the art of making poems share in the craft of making laws, and vice versa?”

Cornell English professor Andrew Galloway says, "This book offers an important excavation of how much canon law is part of the ‘dialogic’ range of discourse in and around Piers Plowman, both showing how the poem’s originality extends to how it refashions canon law and following implications that might have been treated by a prosaic canonist but that, fortunately, were instead unfolded by a brilliant poet. Arvind Thomas’ study thus also offers a new way to appreciate some of the range and depth of canon law itself."

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Arvind is grateful for his time at Fordham and for the mentorship he says that made this book possible. “I owe Wolfgang Mueller a deep debt of gratitude for encouraging me to compare the versions of the poem from the perspective of canonist thought. Wolfgang has consistently been a critical reader of this project, prompting me to engage the original canonical sources closely and to write in a language that historians would understand.”

“I am deeply grateful to Eve Keller, who served as a mentor and helped me shape the book’s conceptual methodology , clarify it in terms of the project’s ‘big picture,’ and shape the appropriate style. Her practice of form-attentive reading of premodern literature has served as a model for the book.”

“I owe a great debt to Lenny Cassuto, whose graduate mentorship enabled me to stay in academia to work on the book.”

“My thanks also go to John Bugg, whose feedback on the readers’ reports on the book manuscript was central to its revision process.”

Congratulations to Arvind on his remarkable accomplishment.

For more information, and to purchase the book, please click here: Piers Plowman and the Reinvention of Church Law in the Late Middle Ages.