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Scribal Correction and Literary Craft
English Manuscripts 1375–1510

$112.00 (C)

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature

  • Date Published: November 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107076228

$ 112.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This extensive survey of scribal correction in English manuscripts explores what correcting reveals about attitudes to books, language and literature in late medieval England. Daniel Wakelin surveys a range of manuscripts and genres, but focuses especially on poems by Chaucer, Hoccleve and Lydgate, and on prose works such as chronicles, religious instruction and practical lore. His materials are the variants and corrections found in manuscripts, phenomena usually studied only by editors or palaeographers, but his method is the close reading and interpretation typical of literary criticism. From the corrections emerge often overlooked aspects of English literary thinking in the late Middle Ages: scribes, readers and authors seek, though often fail to achieve, invariant copying, orderly spelling, precise diction, regular verse and textual completeness. Correcting reveals their impressive attention to scribal and literary craft - its rigour, subtlety, formalism and imaginativeness - in an age with little other literary criticism in English.

    • The first in-depth study of corrections in medieval English manuscripts, bringing forward a new understanding of medieval scribes, readers and literary culture
    • A landmark study of an important topic by a leading scholar in the field
    • Presents a new method, combining literary criticism with palaeography
    Read more


    • Co-Winner of the 2015 George A. and Jean S. DeLong Book History Prize, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP)

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107076228
    • length: 368 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Contexts:
    2. Inviting correction
    3. Copying, varying and correcting
    4. People and places
    Part II. Craft:
    5. Techniques
    6. Accuracy
    7. Writing well
    Part III. Literary Criticism:
    8. Diction, tone and style
    9. Form
    10. Completeness
    Part IV. Implications:
    11. Authorship
    12. Conclusion: varying, correcting and critical thinking
    Index of manuscripts.

  • Author

    Daniel Wakelin, University of Oxford
    Daniel Wakelin is Jeremy Griffiths Professor of Medieval English Palaeography in the Faculty of English Language and Literature, University of Oxford, and a Fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford. He is the author of Humanism, Reading and English Literature, 1430–1530 (2007) and co-editor with Alexandra Gillespie of The Production of Books in England, 1350–1500 (Cambridge, 2011).


    • Co-Winner of the 2015 George A. and Jean S. DeLong Book History Prize, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP)

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