Title Background

The Poetic Character of the C-Text of <i>Piers Plowman</i>‘  , 

The Poetic Character of the C-Text of Piers Plowman‘  , 

Argues that the C text deserves as much attention as B, and may despite what it omits be the better poem. Many passages removed in the writing of C had no deeper point to them and obscure the poem’s argument. ‘They give evidence of stages in L’s thinking […] but they are not part of its mature and fully developed design’ (p. 162). Special attention is paid to the C-text Apologia pro vita sua (5.1-104), passus 9, and passus 11-13. While some of what is removed in the revision process is hard for the reader to give up, in Pearsall’s view added passages like C.5.92-101 are adequate compensation. The claim L revised PPl to distance his work from Lollardy is insubstantial: his alterations might only be the result of the wish to clarify the themes of penitence and restitution, and to render them more forceful. C, while less vivid, is much more coherent, direct and intelligible than B.

Volume

in Burrow and Duggan, Medieval Alliterative Poetry, pp. 153-65.

Author

Pearsall, Derek