A Reply to Jill Mann Reaffirming the Traditional Relation between the A and B Versions of Piers Plowman, Reaffirming the Traditional Relation between the A and B Versions of Piers Plowman
Eleven short passages provide textual evidence for A readings having been revised into B. In other passages, a movement can be seen toward an enhancement of conceptual framework and structural improvement, demonstrating an expansion of poetic power over the course of revision from A to B. Mann’s differential count of Latin lines between the two versions does not demonstrate a lay audience for A, since short Latin phrases and half-lines remaining in A are a better indicator of the intended audience’s Latinity. Revisions in passus 1-7 reflect a teacherly authority that WL first perfects in composing A passus 10 and 11, as he masters the quotational style characteristic of B.
YLS 10 (1996): 145-81.