Lists can suggest both a complete written account and the open-ended accumulation of terms. In this, their frequent appearance in apocalyptic texts formally mirrors apocalypticism's combination of divinely created order and the chaotic description of catastrophic events. Medieval and early modern poetic prophecies often list local manifestations of disorder and exclude the cosmic frame of divine order, making poems like Wynnere and Wastoure, which draws heavily on the tradition of poetic prophecy, seem not particularly apocalyptic. But the list-like passages in Wynnere and Wastoure join its focus on economics to the implicit apocalypticism of its prophetic passages. The sense that lists can appear as both an ordered account and a disordered accumulation allows the lists of Wynnere and Wastoure to suggest the comforting bounds of an apocalyptic framework while performing its dissolution by a vision of political economy based on endless cycles of winning and wasting.
The Apocalyptic Aesthetics of the List: Form and Political Economy in Wynnere and Wastoure
William Rhodes; The Apocalyptic Aesthetics of the List: Form and Political Economy in Wynnere and Wastoure. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 January 2022; 52 (1): 119–145. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-9478510
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