Title Background

Langlandian Reading Circles and the Civil Service in London and Dublin 1380-1427, 1380-1427

Langlandian Reading Circles and the Civil Service in London and Dublin 1380-1427, 1380-1427

L’s coterie most likely consisted of a circle of civil servants and legal clerks, many of whom participated in book production themselves, and who constituted the central audience for English writing during this period. The conventions of coterie writing used in PPl were immediately imitated in Pierce the Plowman’s Creed, Richard the Redeless, and Mum and the Sothsegger, all laced with legal diction, suggesting that they all emanate from the same circle of readers as do James le Palmer, Chaucer, and Hoccleve. In addition to these civil servants and scriveners, of which L probably was one, the coterie would also include the scribes copying PPl in the same Paternoster Row workshops in which they were copying Chaucer and Gower. John But’s heavy use of legal terminology and playful imitation of L’s idiom suggest that he too was included in this circle. Features characteristic of legal book production in MS. Douce 104 indicate that PPl attracted a civil service audience in Dublin as well.

Volume

New Medieval Literatures 1 (1997): 59-83.

Author

Kerby-Fulton, Kathryn, and Steven Justice