Synopses & Reviews
William Langlands poem Piers Plowman treats several important aspects of late fourteenth-century life: ideological conflict, social upheaval, and the changing role of religious thought. Vividly encapsulating the great debates of the day, it acts as a commentary on such historically significant events and ideas as the Peasants Revolt (1381) and medieval allegory. Its engagement with religion and politics aside, Piers Plowman stands as one of the greatest poems of the English Middle Ages, earning a place next to works by Dante and Chaucer. For this new and fully updated edition, Langland scholar Derek Pearsall has completely revised the C-text (part of an A-B-C textual chronology), adding helpful side-glosses for the student reader, revising and updating the explanatory notes, appending an up-to-date introduction and retaining the full glossary.
“...a fine edition which will make the C Version more accessible and comprehensible, and, I hope, more widely read.” -Review of English Studies
Review of English Studies
"This volume has now been fully revised and reformatted, much to the benefit of all readers. . . . Those who do not own the previous edition--and many who do--will welcome this new edition." Choice
“For the first time it is possible to see the C-text purged of scribal ineptitudes and arguably as Langland's maturest work ... The effect, at times, is that of the bright colours of a Renaissance painting emerging from under the dirt, varnish and academic pieties of generations.” -English
“...Pearsall gives a great deal of aid with the social and political context of Piers, ranging from straightforward explanation of personal allusions or glosses on the detail of fourteenth-century ecclesiastical organization to fruitful comment on the largest questions about Langland's society.” -English Language Notes
English Language Notes
About the Author
Derek Pearsall is professor emeritus at Harvard University. He has published widely on Langland and Chaucer, among other authors.
Table of Contents
PrefaceAbbreviationsSelect Bibliography of Critical Studies of Piers Plowman
Introduction Prologue - The Fair Field Full of FolkPassus I Holy Church II The Marriage Plans of Meed the Maid III Meed the Maid at Westminster IV Meed the Maid on Trial V The Author's Apologia and the Sermon of Reason VI The Confession of the Sins VII The Shriving of the Folk; Piers Plowman's Guide to Truth VIII The Ploughing of the Half-Acre IX The Pardon Sent from Truth X The Search for Dowel: The Discourse of the Friars, Thought and Wit XI Learning and Salvation: the Discourse of Study, Clergy and Rechelesnesse XII The Debate about Salvation continued: Discourse of Rechelesnesse on Humility and Patient Poverty XIII Rechelesnesse Concludes; the Mirror of Middle-Earth XIV Imagination XV The Feast of Patience and the Meeting with Activa Vita XVI Patience and Liberum Arbitrium XVII Liberum Arbitrium on Charity and the Church XVIII The Tree of Charity and the Meeting with Faith XIX Hope and the Good Samaritan XX The Crucifixion and the Harrowing of Hell XXI The founding of Holy Church XXII The Coming of Antichrist Textual VariantsReference ListGlossary