The A Version
Piers Plowman is an extraordinary important document about the issues dramatically relevant to this day. It confronts poverty and inequity in 14th-century England and explores the need for virtue and social justice, encouraging its readers to create equality with open access for people of all classes and abilities. Though a Christian poem, Piers addresses issues of inclusivity, social responsibility and communal duty, as the poem's protagonist wanders about the world, facing injustice and persecution as he looks for truth and salvation. Michael Calabrese, author of An Introduction to Piers Plowman and director of the Chaucer Studio's Middle English recording of the poem, brings Piers Plowman to life for 21st-century students and for all readers interested in the history of society, virtue, faith and salvation.
About the Authors
""This vivid new translation of the A-version of Piers Plowman by experienced Langland editor Michael Calabrese has the potential to unseat The Canterbury Tales as the go-to text for the medieval literature classroom. An introduction informed by Calabrese's own life sets the tone for a relatable read, as do footnotes forged in his east LA classroom. Entertaining and provocative, this rendering of a usually—though not this time—untameable poem is sure to become a quick favorite for its robust characters, fast-paced narrative, and read-aloud sound. Its lasting power, however, will be in the authenticity and fullness of its translation of societal ills and human struggle into a form immediately identifiable to any modern reader. While reading any version of Piers is a worthwhile endeavor, Calabrese's ought to be every student's first. It will undoubtedly guarantee a second."—Jennifer Smith, Pepperdine University
"Michael Calabrese's introduction mediates the poem to a twenty-first-century audience. His translation is accessible and engaging, written in a somewhat casual tone that captures the character of the sleepy Will while maintaining the sense that important matters are being revealed. The retention of some Middle English vocabulary for which there is no modern equivalent is supported by insightful notes that are handily at the foot of the page so as not to interrupt reading with a shuffling back and forth to look for endnotes. Calabrese's choice of the A-text of Piers is highly intelligent. It is brief enough to teach as a whole rather than as the excerpts from texts B and C that normally have to suffice. Hence, Calabrese's work offers the possibility of teaching an integral Piers Plowman in modern English."—Patricia R. Bart, Hillsdale College
"Langland has offered us a truly Catholic consideration of the great struggle that is human existence, one that requires, first and foremost, God's grace, but also our cooperation."—Crisis Magazine
"A hugely entertaining, and inviting, romp through the earliest version of Langland's great Middle English poem. Calabrese's engaging approach will surely lure many students into the world of Piers Plowman, as is his primary, and urgent, intention. There is something very alive here that one will not find in many other places. Calabrese's book is a high point in this rich area of Piers Plowman's history."—The Medieval Review
Other Titles in HISTORY / Europe / Medieval