Editing Piers Plowman: The Evolution of the Text

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The fifty-plus manuscripts of Piers Plowman have always posed a puzzle to scholars. This book is an account of the editions of the poem that have appeared since 1550, when it was first published by the protestant reformer Robert Crowley. It examines the circumstances in which the editions were produced, the lives and intellectual motivations of the editors, and the relationship between one edition and the next. It uses a wide range of published and unpublished material to shed light on attempts to crack one of the major editorial conundrums in medieval studies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The volume is outstanding for the wealth of evidence Brewer brings to the topic. I find this a penetrating and provocative book. I think Brewer forces into the center of discussion the variety of ways inwhich editors have often forgotten...the varying assumptions that underlie their efforts at retrieving an author's ipsissima verba. Brewer's volume stands...as an impressive plea for both editorial conciousness and conscientiousness." Ralph Hanna, Speculum

"What Brewer demonstrates...are the ways in which general editorial theories are implicated in historical contexts and, more particularly, in which views on the authorship of Piers Plowman and the number and character of its versions are implicated in one another." An Interdisciplinary Annual of Textual Studies

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. The Early Phase: 1. Crowley; 2. Percy, Warton, Tyrwhitt, Ritson; 3. Whitaker and Price; 4. Wright; Part II. The Late Nineteenth Century: 5. The early English text society and its editorial context; 6. Skeat: Introduction; 7. Skeat's A-Text; 8. Skeat's B-Text; 9. Skeat's C-Text; Part III. The Skeat Aftermath: 10. Manly versus Chambers and Grattan; 11. Excursus: Westcott and Hort; Part IV. Chambers Grattan, Knott and Fowler: 12. Chambers 1909-10; 13. Chambers versus Knott; 14. Chambers' graduate students; 15. Chambers 1931; 16. Chambers 1935-42; 17. The Chambers and Grattan collations; 18. Grattan and Kane; 19. Knott and Fowler, Donaldson, Mitchell and Russell; Part V. The Athlone Press Edition: 20. The Athlone A-Text; 21. The Athlone B-Text; Part VI. Epilogue: The Athlone Aftermath: Schmidt, Pearsall, Rigg-Brewer, et al.; Indexes.

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