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From «Beowulf» to Caxton

Studies in Medieval Languages and Literature, Texts and Manuscripts

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Edited By Tomonori Matsushita, A.V.C. Schmidt and David J. Wallace

Senshu University has hosted many international conferences on medieval English literature – primarily on Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland – as well as in the related fields of Old Germanic, medieval French and Renaissance Italian literature. These international collaborations inform and contribute to the present volume, which addresses the heritage bequeathed to medieval English language and literature by the classical world.
This volume explores the development of medieval English literature in light of contact with Germanic and Old Norse cultures, on the one hand, and Romance languages, on the other. The book includes a comparative study of Beowulf in the Germanic context, discusses aspects of Piers Plowman and its tradition, and offers philological approaches to Chaucer (especially his Troilus and Criseyde). The articles assembled here collectively suggest how the torches of classical learning were carried from continental Europe to illuminate the pages of medieval English literature.

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Masa Ikegami - 11. Robert Henryson’s Rhymes between ‘Etymological –ē and –ī ’and the Special Development of Unstressed /i/ -261

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Masa Ikegami 11 Robert Henryson’s Rhymes between ‘Etymological –ē and –ī ’ and the Special Development of Unstressed /i/ 11.0. Introduction Denton Fox’s excellent edition of Robert Henryson’s complete poems, The Poems of Robert Henryson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), provides an Appendix, where Fox discusses some of the interesting rhymes of Henry- son (492–4). In Section Two, he deals with rhymes between etymological –ē (i.e. ME long close /e:/) and –ī (i.e. ME long /i:/). He says that these ‘mixed rhymes’ are dif ficult to explain away and, citing the line-numbers in which such rhymes occur, asks us to see the notes to each of these lines. In the notes, he brief ly comments to the ef fect that Henryson would ordi- narily avoid such rhyming, and continues: It seems likely, as A.J. Aitken has suggested to me, that these sounds had fallen together by Henryson’s time, but that he generally followed the traditional practice of earlier poets. (493) Altogether he finds fifteen rhymes of this kind in all, including three in The Bludy Serk, Henryson’s authorship of which, he says, remains doubtful (439) and one in The Fables, which occurs in lines where he finds textual uncertainty (250–1). The rhymes that Fox alleges to be of etymological -ē with -ī, however, need to be re-examined: one rhyme must be struck out, since this is not a ‘mixed rhyme’ but a pure rhyme on ME /e:/ in all the words involved; and there are in fact three more rhymes...

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