Preaching Politics and Poetry in Late-Medieval England, Politics and Poetry in Late-Medieval England
Reprints essays. However, chapter 7, “Langland on Preaching,” is new, discussing L’s views on longstanding themes about preaching re-popularized by Wycliffites. L appears to share common ground with the Wycliffites in his concerns about priestly hypocrisy, preaching for profit, and the (il)legitimate content of sermons. Reason’s sermon to the field of folk, which is addressed to the three estates and which is not an ad status sermon, further reveals L’s “rapprochement” with Wyclif and the Wycliffites, particularly Nicholas Hereford’s Ascension Day sermon and Wyclif’s De Blasphemia, both of which offer a program for the disendowment of the religious clergy not unlike Reason’s. And even though Reason’s remarks that “Caym shal awake” prior to a king giving the clergy a disendowing “knok” may have been cut from C owing to the “annexation of Cain to the disendowment question” in Wycliffite circles, “Reason’s sermon corresponds fairly well to what is known of Lollard preaching in practice during the early years of the movement.” Chapter 8 reprints “The Social Trinity of Piers Plowman,” RES 44 (1993): 1-19; see YLS 8 (1994): 221, item #23.