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Title: Producing 'Piers Plowman' to 1475 : author, scribe, and reader
Author: Madrinkian, Michael Alex
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 7010
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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My doctoral thesis, "Producing Piers Plowman to 1475: Author, Scribe, and Reader," charts a new material history of William Langland's fourteenth-century dream vision, Piers Plowman, from its earliest composition to the onset of print in England. The study is divided into three sections, which examine the production of Piers from three perspectives: textual history, manuscript circulation, and medieval reception. The first section of the thesis conducts a study of Langland's revisionary process, presenting a new theory of authorial revision from the A to B version that has important implications for our understanding of authorship in Piers Plowman and for the future editing of the poem. The second section transitions into an examination of the early circulation of the Piers manuscripts in various geographical and social milieux. It examines two case studies of manuscript circulation in the Southwest Midlands and East Anglia, linking them to regionalized networks of scribes and patrons. Finally, Section III moves into a discussion of the literary contexts in which Piers circulates, particularly in multi-text manuscripts, examining how the poem's reception by a medieval audience affected its development as a literary text. This section treats production from a more theoretical standpoint, investigating the relationship between the poem's audience and the "production" of meaning in a social and historical context. As I will argue, each of these sections acts as an important frame of reference for understanding the multifaceted formation of Piers Plowman as a literary text and cultural landmark. In particular, the thesis emphasizes the importance of Piers's various contexts, from its textual genesis in the author's composition and revision to its circulation and reception in an unstable manuscript culture. It suggests that the people and the places that surrounded Piers Plowman in its early development fundamentally shaped the poem we have today.
Supervisor: Horobin, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Transmission of texts--England--History--To 1500 ; Manuscripts--Editing ; English literature--Middle English ; 1100-1500--History and criticism