Title Background

This is no prophecy: Robert Crowley <i>Piers Plowman</i>, <i>Piers Plowman</i>, and Kett’s Rebellion”

This is no prophecy: Robert Crowley Piers Plowman, Piers Plowman, and Kett’s Rebellion”

Robert Crowley’s editions of PPl (1550) have often been seen as violently appropriative, wrenching the poem into a role as Reformation prophecy and propaganda. However, Crowley’s preface and marginalia demonstrate a persistent anxiety about the prophetic matter of L’s work. Repeatedly, Crowley constrains the possibility of a reader’s viewing parts of the text as prophecy. This nervousness is produced by the sharply contemporary connections drawn between verse prophecy and sedition following Kett’s rebellion (1549), in the period in which Crowley was preparing his editions of Piers Plowman. This connection is intimated in near contemporary accounts of Kett’s rebellion which were echoed and remembered throughout the sixteenth century, legislation produced by the Edwardian government in the midcentury, and finally in Crowley’s own writing published in 1550, much of which was produced in direct response to Kett’s rebellion. (MRJ; adapted from the journal’s abstract)