Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Book Unbound

The Book Unbound: Editing and Reading Medieval Manuscripts and Texts

Siân Echard
Stephen Partridge
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 268
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Book Unbound
    Book Description:

    The Book Unboundpresents important contributions to the discussions surrounding the editing of medieval texts, including the use of digital technology with historical and literary documents, while offering practical ideas on editing print and hypertext.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5993-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Varieties of Editing: History, Theory, and Technology
    (pp. xi-2)

    The essays in this collection grew out of papers delivered at the University of British Columbia’s twenty-ninth annual Medieval Workshop, ‘The Book Unbound: Manuscript Studies and Editorial Theory for the 21st Century,’ organized by the editors and held in September 1999. When we issued the call for papers, we hoped to assemble a program concerned with codicology, particularly as this has produced evidence for the reception of medieval texts; with the technologies that are allowing increasing amounts of medieval textual and manuscript evidence to be represented and analysed electronically; and with the newly sophisticated awareness of the editing and printing...

  5. 1 Editing Cursor Mundi: Stemmata and the ‘Open’ Text
    (pp. 3-13)

    A comparison between two approaches to editing and textual criticism, John J. Thompson’sCursor Mundi: Poem, Texts and Contexts,and Sarah M. Horrall’s newly completedSouthern Version of Cursor Mundi,sheds some interesting light on the implications of postmodern and traditional attitudes – and throws up some significant paradoxes.Cursor Mundiis a very long Middle English biblical paraphrase, a history of the world from the Creation to the Apocalypse that runs to 29,547 lines in its longest version. Composed somewhere in the north of England between 1275 and 1325, it survives in nine manuscripts, the contents of which vary significantly...

  6. 2 The Unassuming Reader: F.W. Maitland the Editing of Anglo-Norman
    (pp. 14-36)

    F.W. Maitland was so zealous a champion of primary sources that he devoted his 1888 inaugural lecture as Downing Professor of the Laws of England at Cambridge to these sources and their promulgation: ‘hoarded wealth yields no interest.’ Arguing that ‘legal documents, documents of the most technical kind, are the best, often the only evidence that we have for social and economic history, for the history of morality, for the history of religion,’ he urged legally trained scholars to study and publish ‘the most glorious store of material for legal history that has ever been collected in one place ......

  7. 3 ‘Alas! Who may truste thys world’: The Malory Documents and a Parallel-text Edition
    (pp. 37-57)

    In 1934, a scribal manuscript of Sir Thomas Malory’s work was discovered in the Winchester College library. For over four hundred years, English printer William Caxton’s 1485 editionLe Morte Darthurhad been the sole witness to Malory’s work. Since the manuscript’s recovery, a primary focus of Malory scholarship has been the evaluation and assessment of the two witnesses to the work. Indeed, scholarly debate over the authority of the Caxton versus the Winchester has engendered a strong polarity between advocates of the Caxton text and those of the Winchester manuscript, in which both positions have sought to answer the...

  8. 4 An Inquisitor in Manuscript and in Print: The Tractatus super materia hereticorum of Zanchino Ugolini
    (pp. 58-77)

    Medieval repression of religious dissent has fascinated generations of scholars. A great deal of what we know about heresy and its suppression comes from inquisitorial sources. While valuable historical evidence, such sources present numerous difficulties of interpretation.¹ The inquisitors’ agendas rarely match the historian’s, and one rarely hears the unmediated voices of accused heretics in medieval sources. Nevertheless, antiheretical polemics, inquistorial registers, and manuals of inquisitorial procedure remain indispensable sources. This essay will examine one such text, theTractatus super materia hereticorumof Zanchino Ugolini, an inquisitorial manual from the early fourteenth century. The great nineteenth-century historian Henry Charles Lea...

  9. 5 Editing Sung Objects: The Challenge of Digby 23
    (pp. 78-104)

    In the final sentence of a note in the second volume of theAnnales archéologiquesthe editor, Adolphe Napoléon Didron, one of the founders of modern iconography, evokes the challenge of doing justice to medieval manuscripts, acknowledging their acoustic and visual complexity as ‘objets chantés et dessinés.’¹ In the matter of visual complexity editors and critics of medieval texts have responded vigorously to Didron’s challenge for over a decade. Paleography is no longer limited, if it ever was, to identifying and dating hands or expanding abbreviations. Letter forms, punctuation, and even the spacing of letters all carry cultural significance, as...

  10. 6 The Boy and the Blind Man: Medieval Play Script and Its Editors
    (pp. 105-143)

    Le garçon et l’aveugle,a dialogue for ‘The Boy and the Blind Man,’ is one of the oldest surviving plays in any European vernacular.¹ It may, in fact, be the oldest medieval play not directly associated with the institutional Church – that is, with a religious community, with the liturgy, or even with the dramatization of an episode drawn from the Bible or the lives of the saints. Datable on internal evidence to some time after 1266,² it is preserved in a single manuscript codex (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 24366) and occupies portions of three leaves left over...

  11. 7 Toward a Disjunctive Philology
    (pp. 144-158)

    Philologists may be, in general, a verbally scrupulous lot. Nevertheless even discussions about the direction of philology occasionally suffer from conflicting, unstated, or imprecise definitions. Prudence thus suggests that, in order to indicate clearly its own point of departure, this essay begin with an explicit definition, as provisional as it is cumbersome:philology is a respect for the contingent determinates of textual phenomena. A definition of this sort cannot be adequately disentangled in the course of a single essay, and I will not here embark upon a consideration of the term ‘respect,’ a retention of the gist of the Greek...

  12. 8 Digitizing (Nearly) Unreadable Fragments of Cyprian’s Epistolary
    (pp. 159-168)

    Unreadable or difficult-to-decipher manuscripts can be both challenging and fascinating. Sometimes they are dismissed out of hand. For example, the very beginning of Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 178 (containing homilies by Ælfric and a bilingual copy of theRuleof St Benedict) has had several supply leaves added for a table of contents. On the back of one of these is the remains of what appears to be a word list in the hand of the Worcester Tremulous Glossator that had long been ignored as unreadable because nearly all the words on the page had been crossed out. Closer...

  13. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  14. 9 Unbinding Lydgate’s Lives of Ss. Edmund and Fremund
    (pp. 169-189)

    I am engaged in an editing project that could be described as an attempt at a ‘book unbound.’ I am preparing a new edition of a fifteenth-century hagiographical poem,The Lives of Ss. Edmund and Fremund(Index of Middle English Verse[IMEV] no. 3440), by John Lydgate, monk of the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds in East Anglia. This is one of the only Lydgate texts that is not available in an Early English Text Society (EETS) or any other published modern edition, and it is a significant text both for its importance to Lydgate studies (through it Lydgate gained...

  15. 10 Server-Side Databases, the World Wide Web, and the Editing of Medieval Poetry: The Case of La Belle dame qui eut mercy
    (pp. 190-220)

    Editing medieval texts has always been about choices. Choices about which text to edit. Choices about which manuscript witness to name as the base manuscript for that text. Choices about whether to prepare a diplomatic or a critical edition. Choices about what information to include in the critical apparatus and in what order. Choices about which words to include in the glossary and how to present the glossary entries. Some choices were imposed by tradition. There was a certain taxonomy one followed if an edition was to be considered scholarly. Some choices were imposed by the delivery (publication) method. Publishers...

  16. Contributors
    (pp. 221-224)
  17. Index of Manuscripts
    (pp. 225-226)
  18. Index of Names and Subjects
    (pp. 227-236)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 237-237)