Response [to John M. Bowers “Piers Plowman‘s William Langland: Editing the Text, “Piers Plowman‘s William Langland: Editing the Text, Writing the Author’s Life”]
The traditional order of the three texts explains four small slips in A that are corrected in B and C: (1) Dobet is female in A.10.10, male in A.10.15; (2) the nonsensical reference to Anima as “ledere” in A.10.46 is dropped in B and C; (3) B and C likewise omit the reference to the flood’s killing of the fish; and (4) the awkward repetition of “hatid” in A.10.151, 156 is similarly corrected in BC. Moreover, in A the three Do’s stress dread, in C love, and in B both love and dread. Since the poem “ends up” with an ethic based on love, the order of ABC seems most probable.
YLS 9 (1995): 94-98.