Piers Plowman is one of the most significant works of medieval literature.
Astonishing in its cultural and theological scope, William Langland’s iconoclastic masterpiece is at once a historical relic and a deeply spiritual vision, probing not only the social and religious aristocracy but also the day-to-day realities of a largely voiceless proletariat class.
E. Talbot Donaldson’s translation of the text has been selected for this Norton Critical Edition because of its skillful emulation of the original poem’s distinct alliterative verse. Selections of the authoritative Middle English text are also included for comparative analysis.
"Sources and Backgrounds" includes a large collection of contemporary religious and historical documents pertaining to the poem, including selections from the Douai Bible, accounts of the plague, and legal statutes.
"Criticism" includes twenty interpretive essays by leading medievalists, among them E. Talbot Donaldson, George Kane, Jill Mann, Derek Pearsall, C. David Benson, and Elizabeth D. Kirk.
A Glossary and Selected Bibliography are also included.