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9781603293396
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Approaches to Teaching Langland's Piers Plowman

A series of dream visions, Piers Plowman is a moral reckoning of the whole of medieval England, in which every part of society—from church and king to every sort of "folk"—is considered in the light of the narrator's interpretation of Christian revelation. The Middle English poem, rich and beautiful, is a particular challenge to teach: it exists in three versions, lacks a continuous narrative, is written in a West Midlands dialect, weaves a complex allegory, and treats complicated social and political issues, such as labor, Lollardy, and popular uprising.

Part 1 of this volume, "Materials," discusses the different versions, critical and classroom editions, and translations of the poem, as well as the many secondary sources. Part 2, "Approaches," helps students engage with the poem's versification, understand its protagonist and its treatment of poverty and equity, and discern connections to the work of other medieval poets, such as Dante and Chaucer.

Reviews

"This volume offers an exceptionally rich variety of approaches and . . . has the potential to open [Piers Plowman] to many different audiences." —Sarah Powrie, St. Thomas More College

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