Charles Muscatine (1920–2010) was one of the most important stylists and students of style and stylistics in the twentieth century. This brief article analyzes the methodology he devised for literary analysis of style, how he applied it to Chaucer and to Piers Plowman in particular, and what difference that has made. In describing his methodology, this article uses his own words as much as possible, which will clarify distinctions between the New Criticism and Stylistics and show the place of history in stylistic analysis long before the advent of “New Historicism.”

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