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Middle English Texts in Transition

Middle English Texts in Transition: A Festschrift dedicated to Toshiyuki Takamiya on his 70th birthday

Simon Horobin
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 339
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  • Book Info
    Middle English Texts in Transition
    Book Description:

    This exciting collection of essays is centred on late medieval English manuscripts and their texts. It offers new insights into the works of canonical literary writers, including John Gower, William Langland, Walter Hilton and Nicholas Love, as well as lesser-known texts and manuscripts. It also considers medieval books, their producers, readers, and collectors. It is thus a fitting tribute to one the foremost scholars of the history of the book, Professor Toshiyuki Takamiya, whom it honours. Simon Horobin is Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford; Linne Mooney is Professor of Medieval English Palaeography in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York. Contributors: Timothy Graham, Richard Firth Green, Carrie Griffin, Gareth Griffith, Phillipa Hardman, John Hirsh, Simon Horobin, Terry Jones, Takako Kato, Linne R. Mooney, Mary Morse, James J. Murphy, Natalia Petrovskaia, Susan Powell, Ad Putter, Michael G. Sargent, Eric Stanley, Mayumi Taguchi, Isuamu Takahashi, Satoko Tokunaga, R.F. Yeager

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-279-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. xii-xii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  7. Preface
    (pp. xv-xx)
    Linne R. Mooney

    • The Early History of the Scriveners’ Company Common Paper and its So-Called ‘Oaths’
      (pp. 1-20)
      Richard Firth Green

      In an article that has received a considerable amount of attention,¹ Linne Mooney links the professional legal scrivener Adam Pinkhurst, whose autograph appears in the earliest official record of the London Scriveners’ Guild, with the scribe memorably pilloried by Geoffrey Chaucer in an acerbic little verse:

      Adam scriveyn, if ever it thee bifalle

      Boece or Troylus for to wryten newe,

      Under thy long lokkes thou most have the scalle,

      But after my makyng thow wryte more trewe;

      So ofte adaye I mot thy werk renewe,

      It to correcte and eke to rubbe and scrape,

      And al is thorugh thy negligence...

    • Oxford, Corpus Christi College MS 201 and its Copy of Piers Plowman
      (pp. 21-39)
      Simon Horobin

      Oxford, Corpus Christi College, MS 201 (F) is an early fifteenth-century manuscript ofPiers Plowman, which presents an idiosyncratic and textually divergent copy of the poem. But while textual critics have been tempted to discard it as an unreliable witness, with numerous erratic and evidently scribal readings, its status as one of only two surviving witnesses to the alpha textual tradition of the B version means that it cannot be ignored, especially in cases where the other alpha witness, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson Poetry 38 (R), is clearly corrupt or missing text. When editing the B version, Skeat did not...

    • Did John Gower Rededicate his Confessio Amantis before Henry IV’s Usurpation?
      (pp. 40-74)
      Terry Jones

      It is often repeated that sometime in 1392–3 John Gower removed his original (and delightful) dedication to Richard II from his poemConfessio Amantis, and replaced it with a rededication to Henry of Lancaster. Modern historians have generally taken this to indicate that, seven or eight years before Henry’s usurpation of Richard’s throne, Gower was so disenchanted with Richard’s rule that he was prepared to disown Richard and pin his colours to Henry Bolingbroke. It is, indeed, one of very few examples of contemporary opinion turning against Richard that can be cited. As Nigel Saul says, with reference to...

    • Le Songe Vert, BL Add. MS 34114 (the Spalding Manuscript), Bibliothèque de la ville de Clermont, MS 249 and John Gower
      (pp. 75-87)
      R. F. Yeager

      More than half a century ago Ethel Seaton speculated thatLe Songe Vert, a little-known poem in French, ‘with all its pretty circumstances, its charmingly maternal Venus, its mystic lily, its modulations from black into the key of green’, deserved a wider and more receptive readership than just the two disdainful Frenchmen who alone, until Seaton herself, had noted the poem at all – especially since, in Seaton’s view, the unnamed poet was probably John Gower.¹ Despite her high opinion of the poem’s merits, however, Seaton’s clarion seems to have thudded on deaf ears, and to have remained there. No...


    • Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 33: Thoughts on Reading a Work in Progress
      (pp. 88-103)
      Phillipa Hardman

      Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 33, a late-fourteenth-century paper manuscript containing the single, unique text SirFyrumbras,¹ offers an exceptionally interesting insight into the processes, both intellectual and material, involved in the production of a Middle English poem. Remarkably, the manuscript is accompanied by its original parchment wrappers, on which is preserved a draft version of over 400 lines of the text.² It has been very fully described by Stephen Shepherd in an illustrated article and his later website.³ Both draft and manuscript book exhibit scribal corrections, which in some passages are very frequent and sometimes repeatedly address the same line....

    • The Rawlinson Lyrics: Context, Memory and Performance
      (pp. 104-115)
      John C. Hirsh

      In 1984 Bernard Quaritch, Ltd of London published catalogue No. 1036, offering for sale 134 leaves and fragments of leaves abstracted from medieval manuscripts, entitledBookhands of the Middle Ages, and carrying as a subtitle on the first page,Medieval Manuscript Leaves Principally from a Collection Formed in the 19th Century. The catalogue proved to be the first of a series that was to have an important effect on the preservation of medieval manuscript leaves and fragments, though it did so at least in part by assigning prices to each of the 134 items that at the time seemed really...

    • Linguistic Boundaries in Multilingual Miscellanies: The Case of Middle English Romance
      (pp. 116-124)
      Gareth Griffith and Ad Putter

      Although it has now become a commonplace to say that late medieval England was a multilingual culture, the extent to which this multilingualism penetrated different cultural fields and practices is harder to determine. We have been working in collaboration with scholars in London, Utrecht and Vienna as part of a research project,The Dynamics of the Medieval Manuscript, funded by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area), which is examining miscellany manuscripts from France, Germany, the Low Countries and England.¹ At the University of Bristol we have focused on manuscripts containing romances in English. (From now on we shall simply...

    • What Six Unalike Lyrics in British Library MS Harley 2253 Have Alike in Manuscript Layout
      (pp. 125-133)
      Eric Stanley

      The most celebrated early Middle English collection of lyrics is in London, British Library, MS Harley 2253. A recent bibliography by Susanna Fein shows how much has been written about these poems.¹ A convenient edition is that by G. L. Brook (1968), whose view of what a lyric is made him exclude some longer poems and the political poems, all of which are available in the edition by K. Böddeker (1878); and the political poems are also in R. H. Robbins’Historical Poems(1959).² The manuscript has been compiled without thought of what genres of poem in length or subject...


    • Evidence for the Licensing of Books from Arundel to Cromwell
      (pp. 134-158)
      Susan Powell

      This paper, originally delivered at the Early Book Society conference in honour of Professor Toshiyuki Takamiya in York in 2011, arose out of the 2009 Oxford conference ‘After Arundel: Religious Writing in Fifteenth-Century England’. In preparing my own contribution,¹ I spent some time looking at Arundel’s Constitutions in relation to the restrictions on the circulation of books and looking for evidence that these restrictions were enforced in the 120 years of their existence.² There is ample evidence for their being enforced in relation to reading, and owning translations of, scripture, but very little evidence that they were enforced in terms...

    • Bishops, Patrons, Mystics and Manuscripts: Walter Hilton, Nicholas Love and the Arundel and Holland Connections
      (pp. 159-176)
      Michael G. Sargent

      In July 1370, at about seventeen years of age, Thomas Arundel, the second son of Thomas FitzAlan, the Earl of Arundel, began his ecclesiastical career with the award of the archdeaconry of Taunton, a royal presentation granted during the vacancy of the see of Bath and Wells following the translation of John Barnet to the see of Ely.¹ Two years later, in March 1372, he is recorded as also holding canonries and prebends at Chichester, Hereford and Shaftesbury Abbey, the free chapel in Exeter Castle, and a canonry with expectation of a prebend at York; in May of that year...

    • The Choice and Arrangement of Texts in Cambridge, Magdalene College, MS Pepys 2125: A Tentative Narrative about its Material History
      (pp. 177-198)
      Mayumi Taguchi

      Cambridge, Magdalene College, MS Pepys 2125 (hereafter P) is a late medieval devotional miscellany, comprising two parts, each originally a portion of a different manuscript. It includes a number of unique versions¹ and unpublished texts as well as popular writings commonly found in similar late medieval devotional compilations. There are various signs of remodelling. We may consider that the second part, in paper, represents the original manuscript, the first quire of which was probably lost, and that consequently another leaf was added to supply the beginning part of the first text in the remaining volume; then a portion of another...

    • ‘Thys moche more ys oure lady mary longe’: Takamiya MS 56 and the English Birth Girdle Tradition
      (pp. 199-219)
      Mary Morse

      Takamiya MS 56, a long, narrow vellum roll (1,730 × 80 mm), features Middle English and Latin prayers accompanied by four Passion miniatures. The roll’s date and location indicators suggest production between 1435 and 1450.¹ One rubric mentions the Benedictine abbey of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, but the eleven surviving books from Tewkesbury provide inadequate support for assuming production in the abbey’s scriptorium.² Both sides of the roll contain texts, with miniatures limited to the face. An inscription on the dorse matches the roll’s length of 5 feet 8⅛ inches to the height of the Virgin Mary. The maker fastened an...


    • Bookish Types: Some Post-Medieval Owners, Borrowers and Lenders of the Manuscripts of The Wise Book of Philosophy and Astronomy
      (pp. 220-240)
      Carrie Griffin

      The Middle EnglishWise Book of Philosophy and Astronomy(hereafterWise Book) is a text that was widely copied and circulated between the yearsc. 1380–1600.¹ The text can perhaps best be understood as part of theSecreta secretorumor ‘advice to princes’ tradition from which it almost certainly emerged or, at least, by which it was influenced; it is a short exposition on the influence of the planets and the zodiac on human behaviour and character, on destiny, on (in some cases) appearance and on everyday life and living, interspersed with which are instructions on how to measure...

    • Laurentius Guglielmus Traversagnus and the Genesis of Vaticana Codex Lat. 11441, with Remarks on Bodleian MS Laud Lat. 61
      (pp. 241-249)
      James J. Murphy

      There are some occasions during the fifteenth century in which the interplay of content, print publishing and manuscript production can give us some valuable insights into the print–manuscript nexus. This is the case in the career of the Italian Franciscan Laurentius Guglielmus Traversagnus, or Lorenzo Traversagni, also known in Germany as Laurentius Saphonensis or Zaphonensis (from his birthplace in Saona, modern Savona, Italy).

      Laurentius Traversagnus was born in Savona, Italy, in 1425, and entered the Franciscan order at the age of twenty.¹ He studied at Padua with Francesco della Rovere, later to become Pope Sixtus IV. He was at...

    • The Travels of a Quire from the Twelfth Century to the Twenty-First: The Case of Rawlinson B 484, fols. 1–6
      (pp. 250-267)
      Natalia I. Petrovskaia

      Neil Ker wrote that the dissolution of the monasteries in England was the great crisis in the history of manuscript libraries.¹ It was also so in the history of manuscripts. We have a few names of the great collectors who obtained their manuscripts directly from the monasteries in that period, but, as Ker pointed out, smaller collections are often forgotten.² It is not only the smaller collections that are often overlooked, but also the smaller survivors: the history of manuscript fragments and miscellaneous compilations, despite a recent increase in attention, is still a path less trodden than the study of...

    • William Elstob’s Planned Edition of the Anglo-Saxon Laws: A Remnant in the Takamiya Collection
      (pp. 268-296)
      Timothy Graham

      An item acquired in 1999 for the Takamiya collection of manuscripts and early printed books is of great significance for those interested in the history of Anglo-Saxon studies.¹ It comprises sixty-seven handwritten leaves that include a transcription of an Old English legal text and sets of variant readings to Anglo-Saxon law codes, derived from several sources. A series of notes scattered throughout the manuscript reveals both the time period during which it was compiled and the identity of those responsible for it.

      The first of these notes occurs on fol. 2v, at the end of the transcription of the Old...


    • Gutenberg Meets Digitization: The Path of a Digital Ambassador
      (pp. 297-305)
      Takako Kato and Satoko Tokunaga

      For digital humanists in the twenty-first century, Johannes Gutenberg is more than the inventor of mechanical printing technologies with movable type; he can be seen as having revolutionized all of Western written culture before the digital age. The impact of Gutenberg’s printing technologies and that of modern digital technologies have been compared and contrasted by many. As early as 1962 Marshall McLuhan in hisGutenberg Galaxypredicted the arrival of ‘electronic interdependence’ in a ‘global village’.¹ Project Gutenberg, the world’s first digital library, was founded in 1971, and has initiated, encouraged and promoted the creation and distribution of the e-book.²...

  13. A Bibliography of Toshiyuki Takamiya
    (pp. 306-318)
  14. Index of Manuscripts
    (pp. 319-322)
  15. General Index
    (pp. 323-332)
  16. Tabula Gratulatoria
    (pp. 333-336)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 337-341)