Jack Upland

Jack Upland

"Jack Upland" or "Jack up Lande" (ca. 1389-96?) is polemical (probably Lollard) and can be seen as a "sequel" to "Piers Plowman" with Antichrist attacking Christians through corrupt confession. Jack asks a "flattering friar" (cf. "Piers Plowman"'s "Friar Flatterer") nearly seventy questions that attack the mendicant orders and expose their distance from scriptural truth.

Two extant works respond to Jack's questions: "Responsiones ad Questiones LXV" (before 1396) and "Friar Daw's Reply" (Digby 41, ca. 1420). The latter text blasts John Wycliffe as one of history's major heretics. Responding to Friar Daw, someone wrote "Upland's Rejoinder", which survives in Digby 41 in the margins surrounding "Friar Daw's Reply". "Upland's Rejoinder" intensifies the level of invective: Daw is said to recruit the young sons of true-living plowmen to become (paradoxically) "worldly beggars," apostates against true rule, and sodomites.

"Jack Upland" was printed by itself in an octavo edition ca. 1536-40 by John Gough (STC 5098). John Foxe's "Acts and Monuments" (1563, 1570) reprinted "Jack Upland" and attributed it to Geoffrey Chaucer. Thomas Speght's 1602 edition of Chaucer's "Works" (STC 5080) included "Jack Upland".

ee also

*Piers Plowman Tradition

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