Langland and the Devotio Moderna: A Spiritual Kinship
L developed his ideas ‘spontaneously from the same stimuli that gave birth to the Dutch movement’ (p. 24) called the Devotio Moderna founded by Geert Grote, which shares many characteristics with PPl: anti-intellectualism; moderate semi-pelagian asceticism; continuation in the world; Christocentrism; a subjective view of the Sacraments; the valuing of personal poverty; criticism of begging; and a pessimistic eschatology. The styles of Grote and L, though, differ greatly from each other. PPl is written for a wide audience; Grote’s prose is ‘arid yet intense’, and is directed at a well-educated clerical audience (p. 35). The main agreement between L and Grote is their shared diagnosis of the failures of late medieval Christianity, which they both conducted according Roman Catholic doctrine.
Burrow and Duggan, Medieval Alliterative Poetry, pp. 23-40.