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Langland’s Romances

Langland’s Romances

Perhaps the task is not to identify a particular romance as a source for PPl, nor is it only to point to romance motifs in this poem, but rather identity those texts and contexts that draw both PPl and romances together. Therefore, this essay seeks to provide “a strategy for using evidence of the reception of L’s poem as a guide to discerning which romance text and romance-oriented themes some of L’s readers saw fit to associate with Piers Plowman.” What’s important, of course, are manuscripts that contain both the poem and romances, especially those that deal with the “virtuous pagan,”a theme familiar to PPl, with its Trajan, and Siege of Jerusalem, with its Josepheus and soon-to-be Christians, Titus and Vespasian. One can include Awntyrs off Arthure (the ghost) and Sowdone of Babylone (the sultan); L might have also drawn from the Pseudo-Turpin to characterize his Trajan.


Hewett-Smith, Book of Essays . 69-81.

Cross Reference



Shepherd, Stephen H. A.