This book provides an accessible, concise and intellectually stimulating introduction and guide to one of the richest, most challenging poems of pre-Reformation English. New to the internationally-renowned "Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies" series, James Simpson's indispensable guide to Piers Plowman has been fully revised for this reissue. As any teacher of the poem knows, teaching Piers Plowman is massively facilitated by a reliable introductory guide providing both information and interpretation. This book does just that. Its main aim is to demonstrate to undergraduate readers the centrality of Piers Plowman in any account of the literary and cultural history of the later English Middle Ages. Piers Plowman's principal project is the re-imagination of a vernacular Church; the text questions the culture within which it is anchored and moves towards an active re-imagination of social and religious institutions. Simpson's book demonstrates how the poem's historical significance is embedded in its formal choices. This is a truly introductory guide to Piers Plowman notable for its clarity, its intellectual subtlety and its originality. Piers Plowman is a key medieval undergraduate text, both for its literary value and its religious significance. This full revision of the book incorporates the best new scholarship on Piers since the original 1990 edition.