The Invention of Middle English
An Anthology of Sources, 1700-1864.
XII+244 p., 165 x 245 mm, 2000
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The documents presented here highlight
the uncertain and haphazard way in which Middle English language and
literature was shaped by antiquarians in the eighteenth and ninteenth
In accounts of the emergence of medieval
studies in the post-medieval period, the growth of the discipline of
Middle English has so far not been fully charted. This study provides
the principal source materials for the study of the formation of Middle
English, most of which are rare and difficult to obtain. It enables the
detailed study of the key documents in the growth of Middle English -
gathered together for the first time. It will also enable the setting
of courses in this field. Each extract is preceded by a full histroical
and critical introduction and bibliography; any passages in late Latin
and German are translated. Part 1 examines the origins and growth of
'Middle English' as a linguistic concept and includes extracts
from George Hickes (1703-5), Thomas Warton (1774-81), R.G. Latham
(1841), James A.H. Murray (1875-89), T.L. Kington Oliphant (1873),
George P. Marsh (1862) and George Craik (1872). Part 2 examines the
gradual emergence of a concept of 'Middle English literature'
as a disciplinary field and the key ideological movements in its early
scholarship. Extracts are drawn from Thomas Hearne (1724), Richard Hurd
(1762), Thomas Percy (1765), Thomas Warton again, Thomas Tyrwhitt
(1775-8), George Ellis (1801), Joseph Ritson (1802), Walter Scott
(1804), George Ellis (1805), Henry Weber (1810), Thomas Whitaker
(1813), E.V. Utterson (1817), James Heywood Markland (1818) - for the
Roxburghe Club publications, David Laing (1822), William Turnbull
(1838) - for the Maitland and Abbotsford Club publications, Frederic
Madden (1839), James Orchard Halliwell - for the Camden Society
publications, Thomas Wright (1847-51) and Frederic Furnivall, the last
extract in which he circularises colleagues announcing the foudning of
the Early English Text Society (1864).
This publication is also distributed by: ISD, Marston