Scholarly Connections: Professor-Student Team and the Links Between Medieval Poem, Political Commentary

November 25th, 2013 by 

English Professor James Kee brought a lifetime of interest and experience when he spent part of the summer assisting English major Chase Padusniak ‘15 with his summer research project, titled “The Will to Charity: The Movement of the Will in Piers Plowman and the Works of George Grant.” The project was part of the College’s Summer Research Program.

Padusniak took Kee’s Readings in Medieval Literature class during his freshman year, alongside political philosophy courses in which he was introduced to the 20th century works of Canadian philosopher and political commentator George Grant. After noticing strong resemblances in the works of Grant with the long medieval poem “Piers Plowman” which he studied in Kee’s class, Padusniak devoted his summer to writing a thesis that explored the link between the two. “Looking at Piers Plowman and the works of George Grant was not just pleasurable,” Padusniak says, “but really touched on universal truth in two different historical contexts. The project was really aimed at seeing the unity in what seems a mountain difference.”

To help him with his undertaking, Padusniak also enlisted the aid of Matthew Dinan, visiting assistant professor of political science. Both Dinan and Kee were more than happy to provide the necessary assistance.

A 33-year veteran of the English department, Kee has a long history with “Piers Plowman.” Written and rewritten by English poet William Langland over a 20-year span in the late 14th century, the poem is an allegory in the form of a dream vision that focuses on the search to lead a true Christian life.

Kee, who wrote his doctorate dissertation on the poem and has returned to it countless times in the years since, says he still remains “impressed by the integrity of Langland’s poetic vision.” Langland wrote at the tail end of a century that began with Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, and Kee believes the two stand as fitting bookends for the philosophical and theological shifts that occurred in the interim. He admits the difficulty level is high for modern readers to descend into the work, but says this makes Padusniak’s independent study all the more impressive. While they both share the same infectious enthusiasm discussing “Piers,” Kee makes it explicitly clear that this was Padusniak’s ballgame from the start, and he was happy to simply provide some relief pitching.

“I didn’t see assisting in Chase’s project as work,” says Kee. “It was a real joy and pleasure to return back to the poem again alongside a fresh set of eyes. This is a work that allows for continual study, and seeing Chase’s work on it is just evidence that it will continue to prove so for many years to come.”

Related Information:

| More

Comments are closed.

Sort By:
or
05/05/16 Photos: Holy Cross Theatre Department’s Modern-Dress ‘Hamlet’ Captures the Attention of New Audiences
05/04/16 Holy Cross Students Host Relay for Life
05/03/16 Holy Cross Ranked No. 19 on Forbes’ List of Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges
05/02/16 Holy Cross Kicks Off $400 Million “Become More” Campaign with Celebration Weekend
See All
See All

Featured Videos

See video
‘Major in Anything…Succeed in Business’

Watch Video >
See video
Photo Gallery, Video: Obama Advisor Broderick Johnson ’78 Speaks on ‘My Brother’s Keeper,’ Other White House Initiatives

Watch Video >
See video
Crusaders Win Patriot League Championship

Watch Video >
More

What’s Happening on Campus

05/06/2016

Gamelan Gita Sari Concert

See More >
05/26/2016

Senior Academic Awards and Prizes

See More >
05/26/2016

Baccalaureate Mass

See More >
05/26/2016

ALANA Baccalaureate Celebration

See More >
More

Holy Cross in the News

05/03/16

Holy Cross Ranked No. 19 on Forbes’ List of Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges

Forbes.com

The College of the Holy Cross ranked No. 19 on Forbes’ list of Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges. For this ranking, Forbes looked at U.S. colleges and universities “that...

04/29/16

‘Holy Cross honors Rev. Kuzniewski with field dedication’

Telegram & Gazette

Last Friday during halftime at the Holy Cross vs. Boston University men’s lacrosse game, the College of the Holy Cross dedicated Holy Cross Field, home of the men’s and...

04/20/16

Holy Cross’ Give Purple Challenge Highlighted for its Success

The Washington Post

“It took just 43 hours for the College of the Holy Cross to raise nearly $2 million,” a recent Washington Post article begins. The article discusses the increase in...