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William Langland's "Piers Plowman": The C Version (The Middle Ages Series) Paperback – December 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Series: The Middle Ages Series
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (December 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812215613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812215618
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A gifted poet has given us an astute, adroit, vigorous, inviting, eminently readable translation. . . . The challenging gamut of Langland's language . . . has here been rendered with blessed energy and precision. Economou has indeed Done-Best."—Allen Mandelbaum

About the Author

George Economou is Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. He is the author of The Goddess Natura in Medieval Literature. Among his books of poetry are Landed Natures; Ameriki: Book One and Selected Earlier Poems; and harmonies and fits.

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "gabecca" on March 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Though a difficult work, Piers Plowman is definitely worth reading for anyone studying English literature. This allegorical dream-vision follows the narrator, Will, on his journey though the world and into the depths of the human consciousness. Always vivid and imaginative, sometimes even humorous, this poem is a fascinating glimpse into mid fourteenth century England. Economou's translation of the lesser-read C text is often poetically quite beautiful and always easy for a modern reader to understand.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
The poem of 'Piers the Ploughman' is often considered to be anonymously composed, as the name William Langland was less an authorial designation as it was an inscription on the back of a manuscript - it would be as if I would be assigned the authorship of the O.E.D. because, in some future time, the only remaining copy was missing the title pages, but still had the hard-cover with my 'ex libris' impression on it. Be that as it may, Langland is considered at least as likely an author as any other, and becomes a sort of stand-in, an 'everyman' for his time period. A few details of this Langland are known - he was a wanderer, a constant reviser (the poem goes through several revisions that scholars have designated as texts A, B, and C (and some argue for Z). This is not a spiritual autobiography, as J.F. Goodridge states in his introduction to another edition, but there are no doubt autobiographical elements in the text. That the lead character is named 'Will' helps in this identification.

This poem stands alongside Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' as one of the great products of Middle English; this also has the character of being a different sort of Middle English than Chaucer's more courtly, continental influenced variety. Thus, it gives breadth to the history of the English language. Goodridge ranks Langland as a great English poet on a par with Spenser, Milton, Wordsworth and Yeats, as representative of his age both in topics as well as language facility.

This epic poem deals with themes familiar for the time - like Dante and Milton, Langland deals with the grand ideas of the meaning of life and the destiny of humankind.
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