Manly - Rickert Text of the Canterbury Tales

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In addition to correcting errors in studies of or based in part upon Manly-Rickert's Text of the Canterbury Tales (explainable to an extent by the size and complexity of that edition), the present study offers an explanatory chronology of the project which lead to the constitution of the eight volumes; presents the evidence that Chaucer released copies of various links and tales during his lifetime; discusses what the manuscript evidence says was the state of the text when the earliest scribes copied it; presents evidence of the two basic modes of manuscript-production (by independent scribes and in scribal shops); and then concludes with an intensive study of the most important witness of the text, the Hengwrt Manuscript (MS Peniarth 392D) as it relates to such other important manuscripts as the Ellesmere (El) and also to the theory of the circulation of individual links and tales during Chaucer's lifetime.


"The book is both detailed and emphatic. . . . an extremely readable, interesting, even fascinating book. . . . It will be essential in all serious libraries in Europe and America. . . . Ramsey's discussions of some scholars who have, sometimes in very odd and sometimes personal ways, attacked M-R are pointed, specific, and convincing. . . . the grand design of this remarkable book provides for the potential editor of The Canterbury Tales what that editor needs to know and a guide on how to put the knowledge to work. For both, the demands are formidable. Ramsey's editorial standards are fiercely uncompromising, as is his devotion to Chaucer and his Tales."

-- Calvin Thayer
Scholarly Research and Review

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