Chaucer as Glossator?

K. P. Clarke

in Chaucer and Italian Textuality

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199607778
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729546 | DOI:

Series: Oxford English Monographs

Chaucer as Glossator?

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  • Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)


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This chapter examines some of the glosses in two of the earliest manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales, the so-called Hengwrt and Ellesmere manuscripts. It takes a fresh look at how text and margin work, especially in the Prologue to the Wife of Bath's Tale and the Clerk's Tale. The case for the authorial status of these glosses cannot be proved either way but the aim is to encourage a dynamic engaged reading that allows for a Chaucer who is in control of the whole page and expects us as readers to take account of all that we find there. The case is perhaps stronger when seen within the wider context of the commentary traditions so prevalent in precisely those Italian sources used by Chaucer.

Keywords: Clerk's Tale; Prologue to the Wife of Bath's Tale; glosses; Hengwrt manuscript; Ellesmere manuscript; Adam Pynkhurst

Chapter.  17535 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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