Book Series Texts and Transitions, vol. 10

Pursuing Middle English Manuscripts and their Texts

Essays in Honour of Ralph Hanna

Simon Horobin, Aditi Nafde (eds)

  • Pages: 265 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:8 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2017

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56670-2
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56713-6
  • E-book
  • Available

A collection of essays by leading scholars in the field of medieval manuscript studies.


“In sum, this collection is a fine tribute to the book's dedicatee. The editors have brought together a set of essays that are all intellectually rigorous, well written and edited, and appropriately illustrated.” (Leah Tether, in The Medieval Review, 05/06/2019)

“Horobin and Nafde have overseen an outstanding collection that will not onlymeet Hanna’s exacting standards butwill prove, much as Hanna’s own work continues to do, to be insightful, original, and lasting.” (Sebastian Sobecki, in Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, 94/3, 2019, p. 845)

“In Pursuing Middle English Manuscripts and their Texts: Essays in Honour of Ralph Hanna Simon Horobin and Aditi Nafde gather an appropriately impressive collection of studies” (The Year's Work in English Studies, Volume 98/1, 2019, p. 211-212)

“The retirement of Ralph Hanna is impressively celebrated in this collection of essays by a virtual Who’s Who of his colleagues working in late medieval English manuscripts and the texts they transmit (…) This is a book that merits a place in all academic libraries and those of scholars in medieval English studies.” (Míċeál Vaughan, in Journal of English and Germanic Philology, January 2021, p. 137)

“Ralph Hanna’s prodigious work across a dazzling array of manuscripts underpins these essays, as the asides, footnotes, and acknowledgments show. There is a palpable sense of Hanna’s thorough scepticism shaping total codicology, its diverse disciplinary protocols, its purposive but subtle methods, and its exacting but sustaining values. This book gives unconditional support for Vincent Gillespie’s judgement that ‘the fair field full of medievalists is an intellectually better, richer and more robust place for [Ralph’s] role in it’ (p. xviii)” (Jenna Mead, in Parergon, 36/1, 2019, p. 206)


This volume brings together essays by leading authorities on the production, reception, and editing of medieval English manuscripts in honour of Ralph Hanna, on the occasion of his retirement as Professor of Palaeography at the University of Oxford. Ralph Hanna has made an enormous contribution to the study of Middle English manuscripts; his numerous essays and books have discussed the development of London literature, alliterative poetry (especially Piers Plowman), regionalism, and the production and circulation of manuscripts. The essays included in this volume are arranged into four major sections corresponding to Ralph Hanna's core areas of interest: Manuscript production; Dialect; Regionalism; Reading and Editing manuscripts.

These essays, written by leading scholars in their fields, offer new insights into the manuscripts of major Middle English writers and on scribal practice, as well as studies of individual codices. Essays cover a wide regional and chronological range, stretching from the beginnings of London literature traced in the works of Peter of Cornwall to the circulation of John Lydgate's Troy Book, and encompassing manuscripts and texts composed and circulated outside the capital. Dialectal studies offer reconsiderations of the evidence for a Wycliffite orthography, the dialect of William Langland, and the vocabulary of the alliterative Morte Arthure. A final section on reading and editing investigates the structure and divisions in the manuscripts of the A Version of Piers Plowman, and examines specific readings in the Prick of Conscience and the Canterbury Tales. The volume also includes a tribute to Ralph Hanna and a list of his extensive publications.




The Tribulations of Scribes — DEREK PEARSALL

A Scribe of Lydgate’s Troy Book and London Book Production in the First Half of the Fifteenth Century — LINNE R. MOONEY

The Vocabulary of the Alliterative Morte Arthure — THORLAC TURVILLE-PETRE

Langland’s Dialect Reconsidered — SIMON HOROBIN

Observations on the ‘Wycliffite Orthography’ — ANNE HUDSON

Cambridge University Library Ms Ll.1.18: A Southwell Miscellany — RICHARD BEADLE

The Migration of a Fifteenth-Century Miscellany — A. I. DOYLE

‘I Saw a Dead Man Won the Field’: The Genesis of The Battle Of Otterburn — RICHARD FIRTH GREEN

The Prick of Conscience and the Imagination of Paradise — ALASTAIR MINNIS

Peter of Cornwall’s Booktongue and the Invention of London Literature — ANDREW GALLOWAY

The Prologues and Ends of Piers Plowman A — ANNE MIDDLETON

Three Troublesome Lines in Chaucer’s General Prologue: 11 (So Priketh Hem Nature), 176 (The Space), 739 (Crist Spak Himself Ful Brode) — TRAUGOTT LAWLER

Ralph Hanna’s Publications


Tabula Gratulatoria