Abstract

Abstract:

Surviving in three distinct authorial versions (A, B, and C) and over sixty manuscripts, including complete texts of each version, spliced texts of two or more versions, fragments, and excerpts, William Langland's Piers Plowman presents exceptional difficulties for readers, bibliographers, and textual critics. Sporadically throughout the text, both the medieval scribes who copied the poem and the modern scholars who propose to edit its three versions have disagreed about where one poetic line ends and the next begins. Uncertainty about the end of the line throws into doubt all other textual and literary discriminations, so the two case studies in mislineation of multilingual lines considered in this essay (B.13.19 / C.15.21–22 and B.15.69 / C.16.229–30) illustrate a larger swath of interpretive problems in this recalcitrant medieval text.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0383
Print ISSN
0039-3738
Pages
pp. 225-239
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-25
Open Access
No
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