Title Background

Will’s “Apologia Pro Vita Sua”

Will’s “Apologia Pro Vita Sua”

The authors of the studies included in Written Work: Langland, Labor, and Authorship (Justice, Steven, and Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, eds. [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997]) all assume that the figure of Will in C.5.1-104 is intended as an autobiographical representation of L himself. An alternative reading is made possible if the revisions to the poem witnessed by BC are seen as the work of a different poet than that of A. In this model, the figure of Will from the “autobiographical” passage can be seen as a satiric representation of the A poet by the C reviser, who associates the A poet with the same idleness and feigned holiness which the A poet imputes to the beggars and “lewede ermytes” in the A prologue. The revision of the figure of Will is meant to subvert the radical ideology of the A text, at the same time that it cautions the A poet, “judge not lest that ye be judged.”


YLS 13 (1999): 35-48.


Fowler, David C.