His Early Work in Middle English

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

His Early Work in Middle English

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  • Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)


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One important aspect of the tremulous scribe's work is the layer of Middle English glosses in MSS C, E, and G. This layer is not only in his hand but is his earliest layer of glossing. It is therefore of considerable importance to attempt to describe what was happening in this early stage of his work and why he may have switched to glossing in Latin. In order to do so, this chapter considers all of the tremulous hand's early work in Middle English, beginning with his copy of Worcester Cathedral MS F. 174. His marks and Middle English glosses in MSS C, E, and G provide the best evidence as to how he treated his exemplars in F. 174. This chapter suggests that the marks and Middle English glosses in MSS C, E, and G are the work of a corrector, preparing the manuscripts to be copied, and that a similar process of updating punctuation, spelling, word division, and vocabulary must underlie F. 174. The tremulous scribe appears to have encountered problems when he attempted to translate standard late West Saxon Old English into Middle English.

Keywords: tremulous scribe; manuscripts; Middle English; Old English; glosses; glossing; marks; exemplars

Chapter.  8271 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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