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This is the first volume of a two-volume parallel-text edition of Piers Plowman. It contains complete critical texts of all four versions of the poem (the A, B and C texts and also the Z texts, the authenticity of which is still under debate). Each text is provided with a full critical apparatus based on first-hand study of the manuscript evidence in the light of modern scholarly understanding of the ways in which medieval vernacular texts were copied and transmitted. The text has been edited in a format based on that pioneered by W W Skeat in his famous parallel-text edition of 1886. This edition differs from that of Skeat in that the whole process of editing has been carried out on the basis of a systematic comparison of the variant readings of all versions, and also in that the detailed textual apparatus is included with the texts, enabling the reader to evaluate the strength of the manuscript support at every stage. Volume Two will contain the critical introduction, text notes, commentary, bibliography and the important glossary. Together they will provide a full and convenient basis for advanced study of this great medieval poem.
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