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The Cambridge Companion to Piers Plowman


Part of Cambridge Companions to Literature

Andrew Cole, Andrew Galloway, Helen Barr, Ralph Hanna, Steven Justice, Jill Mann, Robert Adams, James Simpson, Matthew Giancarlo, Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Simon Horobin, Lawrence Warner, Nicolette Zeeman
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  • Date Published: February 2014
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107401587

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About the Authors
  • Piers Plowman has long been considered one of the greatest poems of medieval England. Current scholarship on this alliterative masterpiece looks very different from that available even a decade ago. New information about the manuscripts of the poem, new historical discoveries, and new investigations of its literary, cultural and theoretical scope have fundamentally altered the very meaning of Langland's art. This Companion thus critically surveys traditional scholarship, with the aim of recuperating its best insights, and it ventures forth into newer areas of inquiry attuned to questions of social setting, institutional context, intellectual and literary history, theory, and the revitalized fields of codicology and paleography. By proceeding through chapters that offer cumulatively wider views as well as stand-alone analyses of topics most crucial to understanding Piers Plowman, this Companion gives serious students and seasoned scholars alike up-to-date knowledge of this intricate and beautiful poem.

    • Provides a comprehensive and up-to-date study of the fascinating and complex medieval poem, Piers Plowman
    • Includes an account of important aspects of the text and an investigation into its historical, theological and cultural contexts, essential to understanding the poem in the twenty-first century
    • Contains very recently discovered work on the poet's family, as well as current information about the existing copies of the poem
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This collection distils expansive critical inquiry on an equally expansive medieval text into twelve readable essays, providing a definitive snapshot of a developing field of study. Beginning and advanced students will turn to this guide to Langland's poem for many years to come.' Eric Weiskott, Speculum

    'The Cambridge Companion to Piers Plowman is an excellent and necessary collection of essays by top-notch scholars. … The collection … [offers] new readers a solid introduction to this most difficult of medieval poems and more seasoned scholars an overview of where we are now, with tantalizing signposts suggesting where new work might lead us.' Jennifer Sisk, Journal of English and Germanic Philology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107401587
    • length: 286 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus. 1 map
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: studying Piers Plowman in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries Andrew Cole and Andrew Galloway
    Part I. The Poem and its Traditions:
    1. Major episodes and moments in Piers Plowman B Helen Barr
    2. The versions and revisions of Piers Plowman Ralph Hanna
    3. Literary history and Piers Plowman Steven Justice
    4. Allegory and Piers Plowman Jill Mann
    Part II. Historical and Intellectual Contexts:
    5. The Rokeles: an index for a 'Langland' family history Robert Adams
    6. Religious forms and institutions in Piers Plowman James Simpson
    7. Political forms and institutions in Piers Plowman Matthew Giancarlo
    8. Christian philosophy in Piers Plowman Andrew Cole and Andrew Galloway
    9. The non-Christians of Piers Plowman Suzanne Conklin Akbari
    Part III. Readers and Responses:
    10. Manuscripts and readers of Piers Plowman Simon Horobin
    11. Plowman traditions in late medieval and early modern writing Lawrence Warner
    12. Piers Plowman in theory Nicolette Zeeman
    Guide to further reading.

  • Editors

    Andrew Cole, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Andrew Cole is Associate Professor of English at Princeton University.

    Andrew Galloway, Cornell University, New York
    Andrew Galloway is Professor of English at Cornell University.


    Andrew Cole, Andrew Galloway, Helen Barr, Ralph Hanna, Steven Justice, Jill Mann, Robert Adams, James Simpson, Matthew Giancarlo, Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Simon Horobin, Lawrence Warner, Nicolette Zeeman

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