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|Title:||The Nature of the Relationship Between William Langland's "Piers Plowman" and the Wycliffite Sect|
|Authors:||Gasse, Paulette Rosanne|
|Keywords:||English Language and Literature;English Language and Literature|
|Abstract:||<p>"Piers Plowman" and the Wycliffite sect both developed out of the spiritual upheaval sweeping fourteenth-century England. They dispaly many similar interests, such as concerns with socio-economic problems, the responsibilities and choices of the individual, and the uses and abuses of wealth and language. Although such similarities exist, analysis of the treatment of these concerns shows that Langland and the Wycliffites do not share a common point of view, even when the concern is of a very general nature. The one exception is the subject of kingship, in which the treatment of Langland's ideals come close to concepts developed by Wyclif.</p> <p>There is tangible evidence that the Lollards were influenced by "Piers Plowman" and that they interpreted the text as sympathetic to their sect. On the other hand, there is less evidence that Langland was aware of Lollardy's existence. Certain changes from the B-text to the C-text, especially the character of Rechelesnesse, suggest that Langland did know of Lollardy; but, in spite of an early critical view that put Langland within the Wycliffite dissenting tradition, Langland's attitude toward Lollardy is never readily discernible. Nevertheless, analysis of Langlands' attitude toward things "Lollard" in character shows that his reaction to the Wycliffite sect would be conservative and negative. In sum, the comparison of Wycliffite material and "Piers Plowman" demonstrates the context in which Lollardy and "Piers Plowman" should be related - a common interest in controversy and spiritual reform, but with insurmountable differences in outlook. It also demonstrates how two groups with contemporary yet very different points of view tried to resolve the major religious, social and economic troubles of late fourteenth-century England.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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