Title Background

<i>Radical Pastoral 1381–1594: Appropriation and the Writing of Religious Controversy</i>, 1381–1594: Appropriation and the Writing of Religious Controversy</i>

Radical Pastoral 1381–1594: Appropriation and the Writing of Religious Controversy, 1381–1594: Appropriation and the Writing of Religious Controversy

This book is concerned with the formation of a distinct anti-urban discourse both in the text of L’s poem and in the appropriative tradition that gathered around PPl in the two centuries after its composition. Chapter 1 focuses on the anti-commercial satire of L’s poem (particularly passūs 3 and 5) by discussing the term ‘regrator’ as it is used by L, and as it appears in contemporary discourses of civic legislation. It then follows this thread of satire into the early Tudor period, particularly in the work of L’s first print editor, Robert Crowley, and associated writers. Chapter 2 traces a form of satirical, anti-urban rhetoric in the writing of religious controversy, from polemical exchanges between mendicants and lollards to the work of key writers of the early English reformation such as William Tyndale, Simon Fish, and John Bale. Chapter 3 discusses the proliferation of the ploughman as the central figure of religious controversy across the period 1510-1550, beginning with a discussion of texts such as John Heywood’s Of Gentilesse and Nobility and ending by placing Crowley’s editions of L’s poem within this cultural landscape. The final chapter follows the continued appropriation of the ploughman figure into the Elizabethan period, centring on writing engaged in the Marprelate controversy, the prose of Thomas Nashe, and the appearance of ‘Piers Plowman’ as a character on the Shakespearean stage in the early 1590s. (MRJ)

Rev. by:

  • Sarah James, Review of English Studies, 63 (2012), 149-50;
  • Lawrence Warner, Medium Ævum, 81 (2012), 328-29;
  • John Watkins, ‘Recent Studies in the English Renaissance’, Studies in English Literature 1500-1800, 52 (2012), 207-49 (pp. 214-15);
  • Larry Scanlon, YLS, 26 (2012), 299-302.