Title Background

<i>Parliament and Literature in Late Medieval England.</i>

Parliament and Literature in Late Medieval England.

Revises and expands an earlier article on the subject of PPl and parliament (YLS, 17 (2003), 135–74; see no. 11, ‘Annual Bibliography, 2003’, YLS, 18 (2004), pp. 206–07). It argues that PPl provides a specifically parliamentary setting for the trial of Meed episode in passûs 2–4 and that the poem exploits a broadly parliamentary form for representing the literary dynamics of debate and parlement. The chapter contextualizes the trial of Meed with events and texts surrounding the Good Parliament of 1376. These include the dream of Thomas Hoo, the St Albans’ Chronicle account of the attempted bribe of the Black Prince, and the capture of Alice Perrers’s Dominican friar. It also analyses the Barn of Unity episode as an example of a parliamentary assembly gone awry at the poem’s end. Overall, this chapter argues that L’s exploitation of parliamentary elements — and a uniquely diverse reformist perspective — joins PPl with similar aspects of contemporary artistic representations of parliaments and of parliamentary ideology in the writing of Chaucer, Gower, and some later poems of the PPl tradition. (MG)

Rev. by:

  • Wendy Scase, YLS, 22 (2008), 240–44;
  • Andrew Breeze, Modern Language Review, 104 (2009), 544-45; 
  • Elizabeth Evershed, Medium Ævum, 78 (2009), 133-34; 
  • Sarah L. Peverley, The Medieval Review 09.04.11 [http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.baj9928.0904.011]; 
  • Claire Sponsler, Journal of British Studies, 48 (2009), 187-89; 
  • Lynn Staley, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 31 (2009), 337-40; 
  • Marion Turner, Review of English Studies, 60 (2009), 299-301;
  • Ralph Hanna, Speculum, 85 (2010), 143-45.


Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, Chapter 5, 'Parliament, Piers Plowman and the Reform of the Public Voice', pp. 179–208.

Cross Reference



Giancarlo, Matthew