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Primary texts

William Langland, Piers Plowman, ed. by Elizabeth Robertson and Stephen H. A. Shepherd (Norton, 2006). Students are expected to buy copies of this book, which contains most of the additional texts and extracts for the course.

Thomas Hoccleve, ‘La Male regle’, in My Compleinte and other poems, ed. by Roger Ellis (Exeter, 2001), pp. 64-78 (scanned copy here)

William Langland, Piers Plowman: A New Annotated edition of the C text, ed. by Derek Pearsall (Exeter, 2008), Passus 9, ‘The Pardon Sent from Truth’, lines 1-280, pp. 171-82 (scanned copy here)

'The Rebels in London according to Henry Knighton', in The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, ed. by R. B. Dobson (1983), pp. 181-87 (scanned copy here)

Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, trans by P. G. Walsh (Oxford, 1999), book 1, pp. 3-18 (scanned copy here)

Julian of Norwich, Showings, ed. by Denise N. Baker (Norton, 2005), chapters 51-52, pp. 70-82 (scanned copy here)

‘Preste, Ne Monke, Ne Yit Chanoun’, in Medieval English Political Writings, ed. by James M. Dean (Kalamazoo, 1996). Students should use the following link to the online edition:

Epistola Sathane ad Cleros, in Selections from English Wycliffite Writings, ed. by Anne Hudson (Toronto, 1997), pp. 89-93 (scanned copy here)

Mum and the Sothsegger, ed. by James M. Dean (Kalamazoo, 2000). Students should use the following link to the online edition:

Recommended secondary reading

Michael Calabrese, An Introduction to Piers Plowman (2016)

Andrew Cole and Andrew Galloway, The Cambridge Companion to Piers Plowman (2014)

Ralph Hanna, 'William Langland', in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Literature 1100–1500, ed. by L. Scanlon (2009), pp. 125-138

James Simpson, Piers Plowman: An Introduction (2nd edn, 2007)

Suggestions for further reading

William Langland, Piers Plowman: A Parallel-Text Edition of the A, B, C, and Z versions in two volumes, ed. by A. V. C. Schmidt (Kalamazoo, 2011) (text of all three commonly accepted versions of the poem, plus the so-called 'Z' text, which some argue is also a distinct authorial version)

Robert Adams, ‘The Nature of Need in Piers Plowman XX’, Traditio, 39 (1983), 367-418

---, Langland and the Rokele Family: The Gentry Background to Piers Plowman (2013)

David Aers, Chaucer, Langland and the Creative Imagination (1980)

---, Community, Gender and Individual Identity: English Writing 1360-1430 (1988)

---, Piers Plowman and Christian Allegory (1975)

John A. Alford ed., A Companion to Piers Plowman (1988)

A Baldwin, The Theme of Government in Piers Plowman (1981)

Stephen A. Barney, The Penn Commentary on Piers Plowman, V: C Passus 20-22; B Passus 18-20 (2006)

Helen Barr, Signes and Sothe: Language in the Piers Plowman Tradition (1994)

John Burrow, Ricardian Poetry: Chaucer, Langland, Gower and the Gawain poet (1971)

James M. Dean (ed.), Medieval English Political Writings (1996), online edition available here:

E. Talbot Donaldson, The C-text and its Poet (1949)

Andrew Galloway, The Penn Commentary on Piers Plowman, I: C Prologue-Passus 4; B Prologue-Passus 4; A Prologue-Passus 4 (2006)

Lavinia Griffiths, Personification in Piers Plowman (1985)

Ralph Hanna, William Langland (1993)

---, The Penn Commentary on Piers Plowman, II: C Passus 5-9; B Passus 5-7; A Passus 5-8 (2017)

Thomas Hoccleve, My Compleinte and other poems, ed. by Roger Ellis (2001)

Anne Hudson, ‘Langland and Lollardy?’ Yearbook of Langland Studies, 17 (2003), 93-105

---, The Premature Reformation: Wycliffite Texts and Lollard History (1988)

---, (ed.) Selections from English Wyliffite Writings (1978)

S. Hussey (ed), Piers Plowman: Critical Approaches (1969)

Nicolas Jacobs, ‘The Typology of Debate and the Interpretation of Wynnere and Wastoure’, Review of English Studies, 36 (1985), 481-500

Julian of Norwich, Showings, ed. by Denise N. Baker (Norton, 2005)

Stephen Justice, Writing and Rebellion: England in 1381 (1994)

—- ‘The Genres of Piers Plowman’, Viator, 19 (1988), 291-306

Sarah Kelen, Langland's Early Modern Identities (2007)

K. Kerby-Fulton and Steven Justice (eds), Written Work: Langland, Labor, and Authorship (1997)

E.D. Kirk, The Dream Thought of Piers Plowman (1972)

Traugott Lawler, The Penn Commentary on Piers Plowman, IV: C Passūs 15-19; B Passūs 13-17 (2018)

David Lawton, 'The Subject of Piers Plowman', Yearbook of Langland Studies, 1 (1987), 1-30.

Anne Middleton, Chaucer, Langland, and Fourteenth-century Literary History (2013)

Derek Pearsall, 'Poverty and Poor People in Piers Plowman', in Medieval English Studies Presented to George Kane, ed. by E. Kennedy, R. Waldron, and Joseph Wittig (1988), reprinted in Robertson and Shepherd, pp. 563-71

Elizabeth Salter, Piers Plowman: An Introduction (1963)

---, ‘Piers Plowman and The Simonie’, Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen, 203 (1967), 241-54

Wendy Scase, Piers Plowman and the New Anticlericalism (1989)

James Simpson, ‘From Reason to Affective Knowledge: Modes of Thought and Poetic Form in Piers Plowman’ Medium AEvum, 55 (1986), 1-23.

—-, ‘The Transformation of Meaning: A Figure of Thought in Piers Plowman’, Review of English Studies, 37 (1986), 161-83

---, 'The Constraints of Satire in Piers Plowman and Mum and the Sothsegger', in Langland, the Mystics and the Medieval English Religious Tradition, ed. by Helen Phillips (1990), pp. 11-30

A. C. Spearing, ‘The Art of Preaching and Piers Plowman’ in Criticism and Medieval Poetry, 2nd edn (1972), 107-34

Myra Stokes, Justice and Mercy in Piers Plowman: A Reading of the B-Text Visio (1984)

Stephanie Trigg, ‘The Traffic in Medieval Women: Alice Perrers, Feminist Criticism, and Piers Plowman’, Yearbook of Langland Studies, 12 (1998), 5-29.

Nicholas Watson, ‘Visions of Inclusion’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 27 (1997), 145-87.

Joseph Wittig, ‘Piers Plowman B, Passus IX-XII: Elements in the Design of the Inward Journey’, Traditio, 28 (1972), 211-80

Electronic resources

The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive (an ongoing project that publishes electronic editions of Piers manuscripts):

The International Piers Plowman Society (publishes a searchable bibliography of Langland criticism:

The Yearbook of Langland Studies (the leading journal in the field):