MANUSCRIPTS AND TEXTS                       

[Cross-references included at the bottom of the page]

 

25. BLAKE, N.F. "Geoffrey Chaucer: The Critics and the Canon." Archiv fur das Studium der Neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 221 (1984):65-79.

Confronts the traditional assumption that Chaucer left incomplete many of his works, and argues that manuscript transmission probably accounts for the appearance of incompleteness. Criticism should not, therefore, date Chaucer's works by their apparent state of completion nor attribute it to Chaucer's habits or conditions of composition.

26. BRUSENDORFF, AAGE. The Chaucer Tradition. London: Oxford University Press, 1925, 510 pp.

Examines fourteenth- and fifteenth-century references to Chaucer's poetry as they relate to the poet's biography and his canon. Attributions and notations from John Shirley and anonymous scribes, and quotations from Chaucer and his literary contemporaries and descendants (Usk, Gower, Hoccleve, and Lydgate) test traditional hypotheses about Chaucer's corpus and his relations with his patrons. Omits Equatorie of the Planets and attributes to Chaucer the Middle English Romaunt of the Rose. Otherwise, poem by poem analysis establishes the canon that is accepted today, with a few exceptions among the lyrics. Discusses lost works and apocrypha.

27. DONALDSON, E. T[ALBOT]. "The Manuscripts of Chaucer's Works and Their Use." In Geoffrey Chaucer. Edited by Derek Brewer. Writers and their Background. London: G. Bell & Sons, 1974. Reprint. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1976, pp. 85-108.

Surveys the essential problems of editing medieval literature from manuscripts and summarizes the available manuscripts of Chaucer's works, demonstrating how editions simplify the complexities of reading Chaucer and make readers more certain than they should be about Chaucer's actual words.

28. DOYLE, A.I., and PACE, GEORGE P. "A New Chaucer Manuscript." PMLA 83 (1968):22-34.

Describes and analyzes the long-lost Coventry manuscript which includes versions of six of Chaucer's lyrics unavailable to Koch (entry 17) and modern editors: An ABC, Lenvoy to Bukton, Complaint of Chaucer to His Purse, Gentilesse, Lak of Stedfastnesse, and Truth. Transcribes the Chaucerian poems of the manuscript and correlates them with standard stemmata.

29. DOYLE, A.I., and PARKES, M.B. "The Production of Copies of the Canterbury Tales and the Confessio Amantis in the Early Fifteenth Century." In Medieval Scribes, Manuscripts & Libraries: Essays Presented to N.R. Ker. Edited by M.B. Parkes and Andrew G. Watson. London: Scolar, 1978, pp. 163-210.

Analyzes the execution and consistency of several manuscripts to argue that early fifteenth-century manuscript production was "a bespoke trade consisting of independent craftsmen working to specific commissions." Compares facsimile pages of the Hengwrt and Ellesmere manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales, assessing the layout of these manuscripts by the same scribe. The headings and glosses of the Hengwrt are afterthoughts, while the Ellesmere reflects the scribe's intention to, in effect, edit the text.

30. The Ellesmere Chaucer: Reproduced in Facsimile. 2 vols. Manchester: The University Press, 1911, n.p.

A facsimile reproduction of the most opulent manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, once owned by the Earl of Ellesmere. The illustrations of each pilgrim tale-teller, lavish borders at the beginning of each tale, rubrics, and decorated initials which accompany the text are clear. The marginal glosses in Latin and English, indicating textual divisions or identifying allusions and sources, are also clear.

31. MANLY, JOHN M., and RICKERT, EDITH, eds. The Text of the "Canterbury Tales," Studied on the Basis of All Known Manuscripts. 8 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1940, 4758 pp.

A complete study of the the text of the Canterbury Tales; the fullest source available for its textual materials. The description of manuscripts and the collations are still standard and not likely to be superceded. However, the text, a recension of unacceptable manuscript stemmata, has less authority than more recent, "good" manuscript editions.

32. PACE, GEORGE B. "Speght's Chaucer and MS Gg.4.27." Studies in Bibliography 21 (1968):225-35.

Identifies the copy text for Speght's printed edition of Chaucer's An A.B.C. as Cambridge University Library Manuscript Gg.4.27, thereby supporting Speght's claim that the poem was written for Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster.

33. RUGGIERS, PAUL G., ed. The "Canterbury Tales": A Facsimile and Transcription of the Hengwrt Manuscript, with Variants from the Ellesmere Manuscript. The Variorum Edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, no. 1. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press; Folkestone: Wm. Dawson & Sons, 1979, 1077 pp.

The base text for the Variorum edition of Canterbury Tales: a clear, slightly reduced, black-and-white facsimile of the Hengwrt manuscript, with facing-page transcription of the text, and variants from the Ellesmere manuscript. Ruggier's "Editor's Preface" gives the editorial principles the Variorum Chaucer (entry 22), its goals, and a short history of the project. Donald C. Baker's "Introduction" explains the relation of edited versions of Canterbury Tales to the Hengwrt and justifies its use as a base text. A.I. Doyle and M.B. Parkes, in their "Paleographical Introduction," describe the Hengwrt (construction, hands, punctuation, decoration, binding, etc.), conjecture about scribal method and sequence of copying, and define the relationship between the Hengwrt and Ellesmere.

34. SILVIA, DANIEL S. "Some Fifteenth-Century Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales." In Chaucer and Middle English Studies in honour of Rossell Hope Robbins. Edited by Beryl Rowland. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1974, pp. 153-63.

Analyzes the contents of manuscripts containing some or all of the Canterbury Tales. Complete versions of the Tales are most numerous, but select "courtly" or "moral" tales were collected with similar non-Chaucerian works, indicating their topical popularity.

35. TATLOCK, J.S.P. "The Canterbury Tales in 1400." PMLA 50 (1935):100-139.

An early attempt to describe Chaucer's working habits, the scribal practices of his day, and the likely condition of Canterbury Tales at his death. Suggests that Chaucer left no "fair copy" of the poem and that extant manuscripts reflect the "commercialization" of the book trade. Attributes much of the confusion about links, genuine and spurious, to scribal practice and argues that the order of the fragments in the manuscripts has no authority. Appends a lengthy note which asserts the value of the Hengwrt manuscript and describes its relation to scribal practice.

See also entries 18, 22, 99, 105. For Canterbury Tales: 263, 265, 267, 271, 403, 413, 424, 601, 613, 628, 675; Troilus and Criseyde: 691-93; Book of the Duchess: 813; Legend of Good Women: 887; short poems: 903, 916.

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