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Langland’s Dialect Reconsidered

Langland’s Dialect Reconsidered

In this essay for Ralph Hanna’s festschrift, Horobin revisits the study of L’s dialect, picking up on observations first made by Hanna concerning the poet’s own dialect, and focusing on the two earliest and most important copies of the B Version of PPl: Bodleian Library Mss Laud Misc 581 and Rawlinson Poetry 38. Drawing on recent electronic publications of their complete texts, Horobin shows how the dialect features identified by M. L. Samuels in the Rawlinson manuscript appear in smaller numbers in the Laud manuscript. This leads him to the conclusion that these forms originate in their shared ancestor, the B archetype, prompting a reassessment of the poet’s own dialect and its implications for our understanding of his biography.


Pursuing Middle English Manuscripts and their Texts: Essays in Honour of Ralph Hanna, ed. by Simon Horobin and Aditi Nafde (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017), pp. 63–75.


Horobin, Simon