Michael Calabrese’s An Introduction to “Piers Plowman” arrives amid what the book’s preface calls the “new ubiquity” (xii) of Langland’s great poem. Piers Plowman, Calabrese says, has enjoyed “new critical and pedagogic life in the opening decades of the 21st century” (xii), generating a number of new guidebooks, introductions, and companions. Recent years have seen Anna Baldwin’s A Guidebook to “Piers Plowman” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), Andrew Cole and Andrew Galloway’s The Cambridge Companion to “Piers Plowman” (Cambridge UP, 2014), Emily Steiner’s Reading “Piers Plowman” (Cambridge UP, 2013) and the ongoing Penn Commentary on “Piers Plowman.” Amid this relatively bustling field, one may ask, what does another introductory guide offer to the study of the poem?

Calabrese makes his case very clear from the start. This book’s chief contribution to Langland Studies is to give equal attention to the A, B, and C texts of the poem. Calabrese acknowledges that...

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