Title Background

<i>Piers Plowman: A New Annotated Edition of the C-Text</i>

Piers Plowman: A New Annotated Edition of the C-Text

This new edition incorporates four major innovations. The first is a complete revision of the text of Pearsall’s 1978 edition for York Medieval Press, based on information provided in the critical editions of A. V. C. Schmidt (1995) and of George Russell and George Kane (1997). The 1978 edition was a ‘best-text’ edition of a single MS (San Marino, Huntington Library, MS Hm 143 (MS X), the MS also subsequently used as base by Schmidt and by Russell and Kane), with emendation, derived from a sample of four MSS, only where MS X patently did not make sense. The critical editions of Schmidt and of Russell and Kane, particularly the latter, with its full corpus of variants, make possible a fuller understanding of the character of the Huntington MS and a better opportunity of correcting its errors and improving its text. The second change is the introduction of line-end side-glosses of hard words. The third change is the complete updating of the annotation. Important as a great deal of the work on the poem over the last twenty-five years is, it is devoted less to the eludication of the text of the poem, which is what annotation is chiefly concerned with, and more to the development of larger socialized and politicized and theorized approaches to the poem and the attempt to discern more fully its larger lineaments. Finally, a significant innovation is the transfer of an amount of general material from the notes (which are retained at the bottom of the text-page) to a new section of ‘Thematic Notes’ at the end of the introduction. This gives opportunity for a somewhat fuller account of certain important topics and key issues (e.g., ‘The Friars’, ‘Lollardy’, ‘Poverty’) which can then act as a reference-point for shorter allusions in the notes. (DP; adapted from the introduction, pp. vii–viii)

Rev. by: 
  • Stephen A. Barney, YLS, 23 (2009), 265-88; 
  • Lawrence Warner, The Medieval Review, 09.07.19 [http://hdl.handle.net/2022/3647]; 
  • Corinne J. Saunders, Medium Ævum, 78 (2009), 161-62;
  • M. Teresa Tavormina, Speculum, 85 (2010), 419-21;
  • A. L. Kaufman, CHOICE, 46 (2009), 1499.


Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2008


Pearsall, Derek