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Langland and Audelay

Langland and Audelay

Green agrees with Simpson (against Pearsall) that Audelay’s references to Meed indicate his knowledge of PPl. Green pays special attention to similarities between passus 2, 3, 5 and 6 of PPl B and Marcolf and Solomon, in which Audelay experiments with alliterative verse. Audelay shares a striking proportion of stock phrases with L, which does not seem coincidental. Audelay shares with L a homiletic alliterative vocabulary not used in most of the romances. In addition, Audelay and L share several broad aspects of style, such as direct addresses to the audience preceded by phrases like ‘Look thou!’ Both poets refrain from clearly signaling changes between ‘speakers’; both depend heavily on Latin passages; and both run Latin and English phrases together. Moreover, both try to make theological mysteries more concrete—where L compares the Trinity to a hand and a torch, Audelay compares it to the sun. Yet Audelay was not significantly influenced by L’s political and religious opinions, being more positive about friars and more orthodox than his predecessor. If Susanna Fein is correct in arguing that Audelay’s poetry is a record of his own spiritual quest, then L’s search for Saint Truth would stand as an obvious model for him.


In My Wyl and My Wrytyng: Essays on John the Blind Audelay, ed. by Susanna Fein, (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2009), pp. 153-69.


Green, Richard Firth