posted April 5, 1999

Gruenler Receives Fellowship

Curtis Gruenler of the Hope College English faculty has been awarded a Mellon Fellowship for study at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., this summer.

          Gruenler will use the library for further research
  on his current book project, "Piers Plowman and the Uses of
  Enigma."
          Written in the later 1300s, "Piers Plowman" is a
  book-length series of allegorical dream visions that focuses
  on how to save one's soul but involves an encyclopedic
  critique of medieval English culture.
          "The author, who we think was named William
  Langland, was an older contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer, and
  the indications are that this poem was something of a best
  seller while Chaucer was writing," Gruenler said.  "Its
  traditional title comes from the name of a puzzling figure
  who recurs throughout the poem, first as a sort of radical
  political leader and ultimately as a representation of Jesus
  Christ and the pope."
          In his study, Gruenler interprets the series in
  light of the medieval interest in "enigma," from riddles to
  the theology implicit in St. Paul's saying that "We see now
  through a glass darkly, but then face to face" (I Cor.
  13:12).  His project began as his dissertation at the
  University of California at Los Angeles, which he completed
  in 1998.
          Gruenler, an assistant professor of English,
  joined the Hope faculty in 1997 as a specialist in medieval
  literature.  He also teaches the department's course in the
  history of the English language, and team-teaches in the
  college's Cultural Heritage courses.
          In addition to his doctorate from UCLA, he holds a
  bachelor's degree from Stanford University.