Justice and Mercy in Piers Plowman
A Reading of the B Text Visio
Originally published by 1984 Justice and Mercy in Piers Plowman provides a clear and informative introduction to the complexities of Langland’s Piers Plowman. It identifies Langland’s major concerns and shows in detail, passus by passus, how these are developed by him in the first part of the poem – the Visio. It offers a close reading of the text and draws parallels where relevant with other medieval writings. There is a final brief chapter on the Vita which outlines the chief ways in which the themes of justice, mercy and law that have been followed through Visio continue to be of major importance in the rest of the poem. By concentrating on the philosophical core of the work, the climate of thought in which Langland wrote and the thematic integrity of the poem as a whole, the author makes a difficult, but unique and fascinating poem more accessible.