In Caroline M. Barron’s essay “William Langland: A London Poet,” Barron uncovers the background, and potential local of William Langland, author of Piers Plowman. Piers Plowman, to scholars and historian’s knowledge, was Langland’s entire life’s work and only text. This, along with the lack of information about Langland in Piers Plowman or in historical documents, makes the authorship, dating, and location of creation for this text difficult to trace. There is some scholarly consensus on dating because of the A, B and C version, but these dates are speculation. Although, dating is not as important to this particular text, scholars such as Anne Hudson argue that the Lollard aspects of the poem must be read in tandem with Wyclif’s life. Similarly, Barron’s article argues that location of the author during production, and determining where the author lived, is important to the work.
Barron notes the difficulty of extracting biographical information of this text, and cautions against the “autobiographical fallacy” or attempting to gain information about Langland from the dreamer’s vision (92). But, within the work, there are few geographic mentions, one being Malvern Hills which are referred to three times in the poem, and various place names within London. Yet, the presence of Malvern Hills in the text and dialect and verse is more indicative of a transplant and provides evidence for an author who lived in the countryside and moved to London in the fourteenth century (92). There are references to other place names outside of London in the text, but, expect for Malvern Hills, these references have a “generic, or universal, quality and may well have been chosen to serve the needs of meter or alliteration” (93).
For Barron, Langland’s identity as a London poet is important to his naïve discussion of government in the text. In Piers Plowman, Langland shows an understanding of law, but does not know “anything at all about government at the national level” (94). Langland gives the King a more absolutist roles, and only restrains this absolutism with reason and conscience, qualities the King must have. Langland also confuses the roles of a variety of governmental institutions, such as the Parliament. Although, he does have a precise understanding of local governments, including the mayor’s role in a town. This, along with his understanding of poverty, paints a picture of Langland as a potentially poor emigrant to the London area. Langland, according to Barron’s analysis of dialect and topographical mention, is typical of cosmopolitan men and women of the time, growing up in rural areas, moving to London, and then traveling throughout many regions and towns of England.
Barron’s article touched on many aspects of authorship, transitioning between dating, location, analysis of Langland’s depiction of government, and the final section discussing John But and Langland. The article was informative, and included, potentially, too many sub sections that were not clearly demarcated. The article, for someone who is widely ignorant of the Middle English period, was incredibly helpful and formative to my understanding of Langland, but I do question the decision to include the section of government in the middle of the article. As I read the article, the analysis seemed out of place, and could have benefited from its own article.
Caroline M. Barron's essay "William Langland: A London Poet" explores the challenges of tracing the authorship, dating, and location of William Langland's work, Piers Plowman. Barron emphasizes the importance of considering Langland's background and potential residence in understanding his depiction of government in the poem. While the article provides valuable insights, the organization could have been improved by separating the analysis of government into its own section. Overall, it is an informative piece for those interested in Langland and Middle English literature. You can also use calculadora alicia to know how arithmetic problems step by step.
Caroline M. Barron's essay on William Langland's Piers Plowman raises some fascinating points about the challenges of determining the authorship, dating, and location of the text. The lack of information about Langland in historical documents makes it difficult to trace the context in which the text was written. However, Barron argues that determining the location of the author during production is important to understanding the work. This highlights the importance of context in literary analysis and how it can inform our interpretation of a text. Similarly, when it comes to trash removal services, understanding the context of a particular job, such as the location, the type of waste being removed, and any environmental concerns, can help service providers offer the best solutions for their clients.
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Great analysis of the text. I must not have been paying attention as closely because when you started to discuss Langland's inability to understand governmental structures, I had to jump back to the article and there it was. It is a little revealing because on the one hand this could simply have been Langland purposefully deceiving the readers or this could show that he really doesn't understand. I struggle with the second half, though, because usually those who had the ability to read and write, especially a long work such as this, should have some kind of substantial knowledge. I mean, do you think that Langland could subvert governmental structures by showcasing it through the eyes of a man who is unfamiliar with the build up of the system or is that just giving too much credence to Langland? I don't think he's a mastermind writer, and neither did his contemporaries since there were only three manuscripts that were found (the impressive numbers come in once you hit the double digits) but it does tell me that the writer was working with something in his time that he wanted to bring to focus to those in his communities.