The Cambridge Companion to Piers Plowman Andrew Cole (Princeton University, New Jersey)
Piers Plowman has long been considered one of the greatest poems of medieval England. Current scholarship on this alliterative masterpiece looks very different from that available even a decade ago. New information about the manuscripts of the poem, new historical discoveries, and new investigations of its literary, cultural and theoretical scope have fundamentally altered the very meaning of Langland's art. This Companion thus critically surveys traditional scholarship, with the aim of recuperating its best insights, and it ventures forth into newer areas of inquiry attuned to questions of social setting, institutional context, intellectual and literary history, theory, and the revitalized fields of codicology and paleography. By proceeding through chapters that offer cumulatively wider views as well as stand-alone analyses of topics most crucial to understanding Piers Plowman, this Companion gives serious students and seasoned scholars alike up-to-date knowledge of this intricate and beautiful poem.