Piers Plowman-A Poem of Crisis: An Analysis of Political Instability in Langland’s England.
In its three versions, PPl is a product and reflection of a quarter century of political, religious, and economic instability, with worsening conditions of the 1370s reflected in increased sensitivity to social injustice in the B text. Prevailing ideas in the 1380s were the reverse of absolutist, which according to Anna Baldwin characterized WL’s mature position; significantly, WL did not remove some of the less absolute passages outside the Visio. Moves to effect ministerial responsibility, in evidence from the early 1370s through the time of the C text, are shown to be not completely separable from the responsibility borne by the king.
Politics and Crisis in Fourtenth-Century England, ed. John Taylor and Wendy Childs. Gloucester, England and Wolfeboro Falls, NH: Alan Sutton, 1990. 59-80.