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A transcription and study of British Library MS. Lansdowne 851 of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

Thomson, Claire Elizabeth (1998) A transcription and study of British Library MS. Lansdowne 851 of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.


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British Library MS. Lansdowne 851 has never been viewed as central to the Canterbury Tales tradition and only two hypotheses regarding its priority within the transmission of the poem have ever been proposed: 1) that La and Cp shared the same exemplar or sets of exemplars, and 2) that La is a direct copy of Cp. This thesis aims to provide a comprehensive analysis and description of La and to review in detail its relationship to Cp; thereby testing and ascertaining the relative priority of these hypotheses, proposed by Manly and Rickert (1940) and Blake (1985) respectively. To complete a comprehensive analysis of the La manuscript I have transcribed it into electronic format to permit accurate cross-referencing with a base text and other transcribed witnesses; an electronic copy of the transcription is provided with this thesis. A meticulous and exhaustive consultation of the La manuscript itself has also been completed, the detail of which is described within the chapters and appendices of this thesis. Chapter I discusses and reviews the history of Canterbury Tales editions and scholarly attitudes regarding the textual tradition. A thorough description of the La witness is presented in Chapter II. The provenance of La and a reassessment of Manly and Rickert's work in this area is discussed fully in Chapter III. Chapter IV considers the tale order, and major textual omissions and additions of La and Cp, and begins to explore the genesis of the La and Cp text. This is investigated further in Chapter VI by close study of the minor omissions, additions, dialect and spelling, and glosses of the two manuscripts. These chapters yield firm evidence of sufficient detail to test the hypotheses of Blake and Manly and Rickert. Chapter V discusses the inclusion of unique links in La. Chapter VII considers the decoration of La and the plausibility of it having been produced in a commercial scriptorium. The Conclusion forms Chapter VIII in which it is established that Blake's hypothesis may be dismissed, and that Manly and Rickert's hypothesis is inconclusive. I have proposed an equally viable conjecture supported by both textual and other evidence, that La and Cp share a common ancestor, the c archetype, but that La was produced by consulting an intermediate, and now unknown exemplar.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Literature
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Other academic unit: Department of English Language and Linguistics
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.299595
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2019 15:25
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2019 15:25
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12834

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