Words, Forms, Senses and Texts
Edited By Michael Bilynsky
Textual characteristics of the Poema Morale, M version
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.
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