Title Background

Annotating <i>Piers Plowman</i>

Annotating Piers Plowman

The aim of the annotators of the Athlone editions of PPl is to reinsert the poem “into its constituent contemporary discourses, to describe its place within them, and thus to direct attention to their and its contestations and obscurities.” Normal annotation, which provides data that restore the reader as much as possible to the knowledge a contemporary reader might have possessed, may not be appropriate for a work incapable or unwilling to achieve “the plentitude it wants to posit as its solution.” A better model is supplied by medieval commentary tradition, which combines commentary on competing readings, identification of lexicon and allusion, and the interpretative essay (the latter textually dispersed).