Medieval Europe 814-1450: Literature - Research Article from Arts and Humanities Through the Eras

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William Langland and Piers Plowman

William Langland and the Allegorical Will.

The long philosophical dream vision—or series of dreams—that editors title Piers Plowman is perhaps the finest example of the use of the dream vision for social, political, and spiritual commentary. Composed in alliterative verse in a Northwest Midlands dialect of Middle English, the poem twice was revised and enlarged over the course of the second half of the fourteenth century. Authorship by William Langland is based on internal evidence in some of the more than fifty surviving manuscripts (approaching the number of extant manuscripts of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales) whose large number indicates both the high demand for copies of this long and difficult text and, thus, the high regard in which Langland's text was held in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. What little concrete evidence about the author's life and...

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This section contains 2,065 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Medieval Europe 814-1450: Literature Encyclopedia Article
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Arts and Humanities Through the Eras
Medieval Europe 814-1450: Literature from Arts and Humanities Through the Eras. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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