Harley 2253 is one of the most important English literary manuscripts copied before 1350. Most of the manuscript was copied and probably compiled by a legal scribe who worked in and around Ludlow, Shropshire, in the first half of the fourteenth century. This scribe has also been traced to two other manuscripts, MS Harley 273 and MS Royal 12.C.XII. The scribe copied works into these three manuscripts from c. 1314 to c. 1348 on a wide variety of topics. This dissertation examines four romances copied by the scribe himself. The Purgatoire s. Patrice, in Anglo-Norman verse, appears in Harley 273; the Short Metrical Chronicle, in Middle English verse, and Fouke le Fitz Waryn, in Anglo-Norman prose, appear in Royal 12.C.XII; and King Horn, in Middle English verse, appears in Harley 2253. The four romances reveal areas in which the scribe apparently had a personal interest, altering the tales and improving them as they passed through his hands. Law, history, politics, and science are particularly emphasized. The scribe's versions tend to be more lucid and concise than those of others: he corrects dates, adds explanations and specifics, and improves the readability of the texts by trimming away information. At the same time, some of the scribe's changes tend to betray Anglo-Norman bias. He seems to have written in part for the education of the ruling class who identified strongly with the emerging English nation. The importance of devotion, good leadership, justice, right behavior, and loyalty to the king are repeatedly demonstrated, often by means of historical examples. The narratives are often connected among themselves, and a certain amount of overlap seems evident between the scribe's works and those found in another important contemporary manuscript, the Auchinleck manuscript.
|Commitee:||Dugas, Don-John, Fein, Susanna, Figg, Kristen, Raybin, David, Thyret, Isolde|
|School:||Kent State University|
|Department:||College of Arts and Sciences / Department of English|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Medieval literature, Medieval history|
|Keywords:||British Library, Manuscript studies, Manuscripts, Scribal studies|
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