'Truthe is the beste'

A Festschrift in Honour of A.V.C. Schmidt

by Nicolas Jacobs (Volume editor) Gerald Morgan (Volume editor)
©2014 Edited Collection XXII, 220 Pages


The thirteen essays in this book, presented in honour of Dr A.V.C. (Carl) Schmidt, are designed to reflect the range of his interests. Dr Schmidt, who was a Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford from 1972 until his retirement in 2011, is best known for his comprehensive four-text edition of Piers Plowman, the fruit of a lifetime’s work on that text. He has also made a major contribution to the study of Chaucer and the medieval English contemplatives, and these authors also find a place in this collection. The essays presented here are intended to build upon the legacy of Carl Schmidt’s exemplary scholarship.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • List of Published Works by A.V.C. Schmidt
  • Introduction
  • Punctuation in the B Version of Piers Plowman
  • Terror, Horror and the Fear of God, or, Why There Is No Medieval Sublime
  • Romance Patterns of Naming in Piers Plowman
  • The Style of Prayer in Piers Plowman
  • Malory’s Fyleloly: The Origin and Meaning of a Name
  • Review. A Dictionary of Hiberno-English: The Irish Use of English (third edition)
  • Dame Study’s Anatomical Curse: A Scatological Parody?
  • Nebuchadnezzar and the Moral of the Nun’s Priest’s Tale
  • Aicill in Piers Plowman?
  • Chaucer’s Tellers and Tales and the Design of the Canterbury Tales
  • Proverbs in Middle English Alliterative Poetry
  • Julian of Norwich and Medieval English Visual Culture
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
  • Series index

← vi | vii → Acknowledgments

We are indebted to Judith Schmidt for supplying us with the list of Carl Schmidt’s publications to date, a list that we hope will be added to in years of fruitful and happy retirement ahead. The superb professionalism of Andrea Greengrass, who compiled the Index, and Alessandra Anzani, who coordinated the production work on behalf of Peter Lang, might be taken for granted by anyone who has had the good fortune to work with them in the past, but assuredly it cannot be taken for granted in the production of books such as this and indeed it has been a blessing. Carl was a distinguished editor of Medium Aevum (1982–1988) and consequently we are delighted to acknowledge a donation of £500 from Medium Aevum to meet the costs of publication.

Nick wishes to express his gratitude to Richard Swinburne for help on the Septuagint and I wish here to add some personal debts on my own behalf. I am grateful to Dr Margret Fine-Davis of the Department of Sociology at Trinity for generously providing a home for my most important books and two aged computers (with their attendant files). This has indeed proved an essential resource for my continued scholarly work. The Chaucer Hub, which I founded in 2009 on my retirement, has benefited from its inception from the support of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies under its founding Director, Dr Sarah Alyn Stacey, and it is by a happy chance that the Festschrift for Carl Schmidt appears as the first of a new series established by the Centre under the title, Court Cultures of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. I have been helped also by my former pupil, Joanne Fitzpatrick, who consulted references and provided technical assistance for me even when engaged on her own dissertation on Trinity College Dublin MS 489, and sustained by the personal enthusiasm for Chaucer of another former pupil from the 1980s, Margaret Connolly, in informal tutorials on The Canterbury Tales in the Clyde Court Hotel in Dublin 4.

← vii | viii → We are indebted to the great scholars who have made this book possible by their own generosity added to erudition that fittingly accompanies the erudition of Carl Schmidt himself. It may not be out of place for us finally to acknowledge our own ‘buon maestro’, John Burrow, who guided us on our way as students at Oxford in the early 1960s. Some Festschrifts, no doubt, are prompted by a sense of scholarly duty, but this Festschrift has been prompted by both admiration and love.

Gerald Morgan

← viii | ix → Abbreviations

Sources and Works of Reference

Listed below are the texts cited throughout the present volume. In particular it is to be noted that Piers Plowman is cited from Schmidt’s Parallel-Text Edition (PPl) and Chaucer’s Works from The Riverside Chaucer (Benson). We refer to the fragments of the Canterbury Tales as I, II, III, etc. and to individual tales as, for example, the Knight’s Tale, that is, following the order of the Ellesmere MS and rejecting the Bradshaw Shift, but assuming that there are in reality only eight and not ten fragments.

A Chaucer Glossary

Norman Davis and others, A Chaucer Glossary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979).


Aeneid, translated by H. Rushton Fairclough, Virgil Eclogues, Georgics, Aeneid, The Minor Poems, Loeb, revised edition, 2 vols (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann Ltd, 1969 and 1974).

Ad Her.

[Cicero]: Rhetorica ad Herennium, translated by Harry Caplan, Loeb (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann Ltd, 1964).


Anelida and Arcite


Book of the Duchess


Larry D. Benson and others (eds), The Riverside Chaucer, third edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987).


Piero Boitani, Chaucer and Boccaccio, Medium Aevum Monographs, New Series VIII (Oxford: Society for the Study of Mediaeval Languages ← ix | x → and Literature, 1977), Appendix II, pp. 200–10 (translation of Boccaccio’s glosses on the Houses of Mars and Venus in the Teseida).

Bryan and Dempster

W.F. Bryan and Germaine Dempster, Sources and Analogues of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1941; reprinted, New York: Humanities Press, 1958).


Confessio Amantis, in The English Works of John Gower, edited by G.C. Macaulay, Early English Text Society (ES) 81–2, 2 vols (London: Oxford University Press, 1900–1901).


Les Romans de Chrétien de Troyes: III. Le Chevalier de la Charrete, edited by Mario Roques, CFMA (Paris: Champion, 1972).

Chaucer’s Knight

Maurice Keen, ‘Chaucer’s Knight, the English Aristocracy, and the Crusade’, in English Court Culture in the Later Middle Ages, edited by V.J. Scattergood and J.W. Sherborne (London: Duckworth, 1983), pp. 45–61, reprinted in Nobles, Knights and Men-At-Arms in the Middle Ages (London: Hambledon Press, 1996), pp. 101–19.


Barbara Reynolds and others, The Cambridge Italian Dictionary, Volume I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1962).


Dante Alighieri: La Commedia secondo l’antica vulgata, edited by Giorgio Petrocchi, 4 vols (Milan: Arnoldo Mondadori, 1966–1967) and translated by John D. Sinclair, The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, 3 vols (London: Oxford University Press, 1971).


Dante Alighieri: Il Convivio, edited by G. Busnelli and G. Vandelli, second edition, 2 vols (Florence: Felice le Monnier, 1968 and 1964) and translated by Christopher Ryan, ← x | xi → Dante: The Banquet, Stanford French and Italian Studies (Saratoga, California: Anma Libri & Co., 1989).

Correale and Hamel

Sources and Analogues of The Canterbury Tales, edited by Robert M. Correale and Mary Hamel, 2 vols (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2002 and 2005).


De consolatione philosophiae, translated by H.F. Stewart and E.K. Rand, Boethius: The Theological Tractates, The Consolation of Philosophy, Loeb (London: William Heinemann Ltd; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968).


The Canterbury Tales


Decameron, edited by Vittore Branca, in Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio, edited by Vittore Branca, 10 vols (Milan: Arnoldo Mondadori, 1964–1998), Volume IV (1976).

Erec et Enide

Les Romans de Chrétien de Troyes: I. Erec et Enide, edited by Mario Roques, CFMA (Paris: Champion, 1970).


Translated by W.D. Ross, in The Works of Aristotle Translated into English, edited by J.A. Smith and W.D. Ross, 12 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908–1952), Volume IX, revised by J.O. Urmson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975).


Filostrato, edited by Vittore Branca, in Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio, edited by Vittore Branca, 10 vols (Milan: Arnoldo Mondadori, 1964–1998), Volume II (1964), pp. 1–228.


Filocolo, edited by Antonio Enzo Quaglio, in Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio, edited by Vittore Branca, 10 vols (Milan: Arnoldo Mondadori, 1964–1998), Volume I (1967), pp. 45–675 and 706–970.

← xi | xii → GEL

A Greek-English Lexicon, ninth edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996).


N.R. Havely (trans.), Chaucer’s Boccaccio: Sources of ‘Troilus’ and the ‘Knight’s’ and ‘Franklin’s Tales’, Chaucer Studies V (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1980).


House of Fame

In de anima

Sancti Thomae Aquinatis in Aristotelis librum de anima commentarium, edited by Angeli M. Pirotta, sixth edition (Turin: Marietti, 1959) and translated by Kenelm Foster and Sylvester Humphries, Aristotle’s De Anima in the Version of William of Moerbeke and the Commentary of St Thomas Aquinas (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd, 1951).

In ethicorum/Commentary on Ethics

Sancti Thomae Aquinatis in decem libros ethicorum Aristotelis ad Nicomachum expositio, edited by Raymundo M. Spiazzi, third edition (Turin: Marietti, 1964) and translated by C.I. Litzinger, St Thomas Aquinas: Commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, revised edition (Notre Dame, IN: Dumb Ox Books, 1993).




XXII, 220
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2014 (September)
Chaucer legacy lifetime¿s work
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2014. XXII, 220 pp.

Biographical notes

Nicolas Jacobs (Volume editor) Gerald Morgan (Volume editor)

Nicolas Jacobs was until his retirement a Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford. His publications include (with A.V.C. Schmidt) Medieval English Romances, in the London Medieval and Renaissance Series (2 volumes, 1980), The Later Versions of «Sir Degarré»: A Study in Textual Degeneration (1995) and the edited volume Early Welsh Gnomic and Nature Poetry (2013). Gerald Morgan was formerly a Senior Lecturer and Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. His publications include The Tragic Argument of «Troilus and Criseyde» (2 volumes, 2005), The Shaping of English Poetry (3 volumes to date, 2010 and 2013) and the edited volume Chaucer in Context: A Golden Age of English Poetry (2012).


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