Middlemarch: Medieval Discourses and Will Ladislaw.
Eliot, who includes B.Prol.55-57, B.10.53-57, and an entry on alliteration in PPl in her notebook and commonplace book, may have been indebted to WL for the emphasis in Middlemarch placed on individual reformation for universal reformation. Will Ladislaw’s characterization is illuminated by medieval romance (to highlight comically the weaknesses of the hero) and medieval allegory, both of which discourses involve the quest mode. Will Ladislaw, like PPl’s Will, begins as a personification of willfulness, as well as of the need to seek solid knowledge that will eventually permit visionary reform. “Like Will the Dreamer in Piers Plowman, Will Ladislaw is always on the move, always learning, always growing: never learned, never fully grown.”
Sydney Studies in English 15 (1989-90): 125-39.