Kelly’s essay surveys for a student audience the reception history of PPl, discussing its place in the emergence of English Studies and its location in contemporary medieval studies. He provides a brief account of the poem’s production contexts before exploring L’s preoccupation with the theme of work — both socially and as a synonym for poetry. The essay concludes by arguing that future scholarship should direct its attention to the poem’s myriad manuscript contexts, rather than rehearsing the critical and editorial issues that preoccupied twentieth-century scholarship. (SK)
A Companion to Medieval English Literature and Culture c. 1350–c. 1500, ed. by Peter Brown (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), pp. 537–53.