May I have a short biographic note on William Langland and John Gower (1300s - 1400s)?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

William Langland had been reputed the sole poet of The Vision of William concerning Piers the Plowman, together with Vita de Do-wel, Do-bet, et Do-best, secundum Wit et Resoun, or more simply known as Piers the Plowman. Not much is available about William Langland. It is believed because of Rev. W. W. Skeat that he was tall and lived in London with his wife Kitte and his daughter Calote.

It was believed that Langland wrote all three extant manuscript versions of Piers the Plowman; A-text, B-text, C-text. Now scholars doubt that Langland was the sole author, or if he existed at all. He was said by Skeat to have been in a low level of holy orders and to have made his living by singing religious ceremonies and by writing out legal documents.

John Gower (1330-1408) lived at the same time as William Langland and was a close friend of Geoffrey Chaucer, who also lived during the same period. When Chaucer was sent abroad by the king, he left Gower with the power of attorney over his estate. Gower's poetry turned to religious, political and moral matters. Chaucer paid him tribute by dedicating Troilus and Criseyde to him and styling him "moral Gower." Gower returned the tribute by having Chaucer praised by Venus in Confessio Amantis.

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The Canterbury Tales

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