Two Annotated Piers Plowman Manuscripts from London and the Early Reception of the B and C Versions
London, British Library MS Additional 35287 of the B version and San Marino, Huntington Library MS HM 143 of the C version are two of the most important manuscripts for the study of PPl‘s early reception. Each witnesses to the development, among the London scribes involved in the transmission of L’s and Chaucer’s works, of some of the earliest commentary on the two long versions of L’s poem. The manuscripts, however, adopt different attitudes towards the authority of the apparatus they inherited from earlier exemplars in the London booktrade. Viewed alongside the marginal glosses to the Canterbury Tales produced by the same network of scribes, the annotations in metropolitan copies of both B and C can reveal much about early readers’ perceptions of the issues of authorship, authority, and audience raised by the work of the two London poets.