Christine Franzen

in The Tremulous Hand of Worcester

Published in print September 1991 | ISBN: 9780198117421
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670954 | DOI:

Series: Oxford English Monographs


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The 13th-century Worcester scribe known as the ‘tremulous hand’ is well known as a glossator of Old English manuscripts. His shaky, leftward-sloping handwriting is found in at least twenty manuscripts, most of which are known to have been in Worcester in the medieval period. His work consists mainly of interlinear and marginal glosses to Old English texts which are usually, but not exclusively, religious in nature. Some of the glosses are Middle English, but the vast majority are Latin. The amount of glossing varies a great deal from manuscript to manuscript and text to text: in some texts about one word in four may be glossed, while in others there may be only one or two glosses per page. This book provides a preliminary account of the tremulous scribe's work, in particular, it looks at what characterized his work in the early stages, how his methods changed and developed, and how he made use of sources and external aids.

Keywords: tremulous scribe; manuscripts; glossing; glosses; Old English; 13th century; tremulous hand

Chapter.  1826 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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