Very little is known of the life of William Langland, the author of The Vision of William concerning Piers the Plowman, generally known as Piers Plowman, other than what can be deduced from his famous religious allegorical poem.
He is believed to have been educated at the priory of Great Malvern and was a cleric in minor orders. He certainly lived in London for a period of time and his poem was published in three versions, the A-text in 1362, the B-text in 1377, and the C-text in 1392.
The theme of the poem is the search for true Christianity and salvation and it contains criticism of the corruption in the established Church and in the world. Although allegorical, the poem contains vivid descriptions of contemporary life and along with Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, is generally regarded as one of the greatest works of the Middle Ages.
The Vision of William concerning Piers the Plowman