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Studies in Middle English

Words, Forms, Senses and Texts

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Edited By Michael Bilynsky

This collection of papers is published within a series of post-conference volumes to reflect the state-of-the-art in the field of linguistic and literary research into Middle English. The contributions embrace a variety of research topics and approaches, with a more particular interest in the broad area of sense-form relationships and text studies of the period which rely on the traditional as well as the rapidly expanding searchable resources. They concern language, literature and manuscripts studies over a wide choice of disciplines and put a notable emphasis on up-to-date tools and methodologies to provide far-fetched searches of corpora and dictionaries that allow for a new quality of token verification and theoretical generalizations.
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Textual characteristics of the Poema Morale, M version

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Ryuichi Hotta, Chuo University

The Poema Morale is one of the few early Middle English texts that survive in more than one version. The sermon, delivered by an old preacher, comes down in seven versions in six manuscripts, all localized to southern dialects of England and dated almost throughout the whole of the thirteenth century. Of the seven versions, M exhibits distinct linguistic and textual characteristics, and its text, as Paues suggests in her editorial notes, may have been taken down from memory rather than having been copied from an exemplar. The present study discusses M’s textual characteristics with special consideration of the scribe’s reordering and omission of lines as compared with other versions. I will then expand on Paues’ proposal of memory copying (Paues 1907) to conclude that it is likely that the ultimate source from which the contents of M originated was written down from memory with some impromptu editing by a scribe/preacher.

1. Introduction

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