University of Leicester
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The early reception of Piers Plowman.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 09:01 authored by Marie-Claire. Uhart
The dissertation examines the early reception of Piers Plowman through the responses of the poem's early readers and copyists in order to revive the context in which the poem was originally read and understood. These responses are derived from manuscript evidence. The dissertation is divided into five chapters, and begins with an examination of the background to the study, previous work on and assumptions about the reception of the poem. This is followed by a discussion of the theory of reception of literary works, and its relevance to MS studies, thus setting out the theoretical basis of the dissertation. A brief discussion of methodology follows. The next three chapters analyse the evidence from the MSS, examining respectively the contributions of the professional book producers in terms of layout, decoration and rubrication; readers' comments, usually in the form of marginalia; and the contribution of the scribes, through alteration of the text. The concluding chapter draws together the evidence from all three areas of analysis and discusses the relevance of the study to the understanding of the poem. There are four appendices, the first providing a list of early poems associated with Piers Plowman in the sixteenth century, and a list of names associated with the poem before Robert Crowley printed the poem in 1550. The other three appendices provide evidence from the MSS, respectively descriptions of all the Piers Plowman MSS; all the professional rubrication from the MSS; full readers' annotation from selected MSS, Digby MS 145, BL Additional 35287, Douce MS 104, and BL Additional 35157, the reader's wordlist from CUL L1 4.14, and glossed words from TCD MS 212. These appendices are included to provide as much evidence as possible from the MSS in a readily accessible form.


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Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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