Title Background

Godwin on Langland.

Godwin on Langland.

William Godwin’s remarks on Langland in his (1803) Life of Geoffrey Chaucer are noteworthy in the attempt to harmonize alliterative verse on syllabic principles while recognizing, pace Warton, that alliteration imposed no more of a constraint on the poet’s imagination than did rhyme. Godwin appreciated the comprehensiveness of the poem’s satire but, following Warton and Elizabeth Cooper, decried its lack of unity; he found allegory in general “foreign to the delineation of true passion.” Chaucer and WL were contemporaries sadly unknown to one another, for Chaucer might well have advanced Langland, and in turn have profited from Langland’s “riper and more cultivated mind.”


YLS 6 (1992): 123-35.


DiMarco, Vincent.