The Language and Metre of Chaucer

The Language and Metre of Chaucer

by Bernhard Ten Brink, Friedrich Kluge, M. Bentinck Smith
     
 

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An excerpt from the PREFACE by Bernhard Ten Brinkman:

And for ther is so greet diversitee

In Englissh and in wrytinge of our tonge.

So preye I God that noon miswryte thee,

Ne thee mismeetre for defaute of tonge.

The little book herewith offered to the friends of Chaucer and of the English language is the result of several years of study not

Overview

An excerpt from the PREFACE by Bernhard Ten Brinkman:

And for ther is so greet diversitee

In Englissh and in wrytinge of our tonge.

So preye I God that noon miswryte thee,

Ne thee mismeetre for defaute of tonge.

The little book herewith offered to the friends of Chaucer and of the English language is the result of several years of study not originally undertaken with a view to a publication of this nature. The grammatical and metrical outlines which form the basis of the present work were planned, and in course of time expanded and elaborated, for my own use and the benefit of those who attended my lectures.

At the beginning of the present year I happened to hear that a younger colleague intended to write a Chaucer Grammar. This circumstance determined me, in the interest of a rational division of labour, to bring to light what had for years lain hidden in my desk. I, of course, at once communicated my plan to the scholar who was the unintentional occasion of my decision. From the alacrity with which he gave way to me followed the obligation, on my part, to appear before the reader as soon as possible. But unexpected difficulties hindered the execution of a plan so easily conceived. The revision and completion of the somewhat defective MS. occupied several months; three more were spent in seeing it through the press, as, for various reasons, the printing was delayed. In this connection I should like to acknowledge the sympathy and encouragement I received from my friend Friedrich Kluge, who also assisted me in the correction of the proof-sheets.

Though deferred beyond my expectations, the appearance of this work strikes me nevertheless as premature. I could have wished to postpone the publication of a Grammar and Prosody of Chaucer until after the completion of a critical edition of his works. The preparations for such an edition have occupied me for a considerable time, but owing to lack of leisure the undertaking makes but slow progress. So long, however, as a critical edition of Chaucer's works remains a fond hope, the details of his grammatical and metrical systems will not be determined with the accuracy that might otherwise be attainable, nor will the survey as a whole be really comprehensive. Moreover, the want of such an edition presents difficulties both to the author and the thoughtful reader. The text-book, which ought to rest on a critical foundation (for otherwise though it might give specimens of forms, it would not present a picture of Chaucer's language), must nevertheless disclose but little of the critical labour involved in it, and may err in being in some points too concise and in others not concise enough. The reader, however, who frequently can not even refer to the necessary texts, must have either great confidence in his author, or great personal industry.
In this connection I may be permitted to make a statement on orthographical matters in particular. It goes without saying that MS. forms which the evidence of rime and metre proves to be incompatible with Chaucer's phonetic system have been removed and replaced by more appropriate ones.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781494212469
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
11/18/2013
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.67(d)

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