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Langland's Early Modern Identities (The New Middle Ages) by S. Kelen

By S. Kelen

This ebook makes use of the methodologies of cultural experiences and the historical past of the booklet to teach how editors and readers of the 16th during the early 19th century successively remade Piers Plowman and its writer in keeping with their very own ideologies of the center a while.

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Additional info for Langland's Early Modern Identities (The New Middle Ages)

Sample text

The manuscript variants of this line show different attempts to reconcile the received reading with the actual dates of Chichester’s mayoralty, from a replacement of the “twies. 66 Bale, like Crowley, uses Chichester’s mayoralty to date the poem, but he gives the terminus a quo as 1368, a date given in no surviving manuscript. D. ”67 Perhaps Bale thought that Chichester was elected in 1368, or perhaps Bale had the date correct and 1368 is an error in the printing. 68 Despite the difference between their hypotheses about the poem’s date, both Crowley and Bale use their dates to correlate Langland with Wyclif.

This page intentionally left blank CHAPTER 1 THE BIRTH OF LANGLAND he sixteenth-century readers of Piers Plowman who first attempted to make public the poet’s identity had little evidence to go on. Despite this, they did attempt to transmit a biography of the poet as an adjunct to his poem. 3 However, his works never refer to either his professional or emotional life. We know of Chaucer’s marriage, as well as his services as a customs official, clerk of the king’s works, and a member of parliament, but not because he mentions any of them in his poetry.

It is an often unspoken principle of contemporary hermeneutics that knowing more about an author allows the reader to understand more about her or his works. Unlike modern psychologizing readers, medieval readers did not seem to take much interest in an author’s life (beyond her or his role specifically as an author), and biographies of medieval authors do not tend to circulate alongside their literary works. During the early modern period, however, individual authors began to take on increasing importance as determinants of textual interpretation.

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