Confession and Compilation: The Seven Deadly Sins in Huntington Library MS HM 114, MS HM 114
This essay examines the unique version of the confessions of the seven deadly sins in the second vision of PPl in Huntington Library, MS HM 114 (Ht). The manuscript has often been discussed as one of the most eccentric copies of PPl, but the redactor’s version of the second vision shows an apparent preference for those very poetic features of the B version that have also appealed most to L’s post-medieval readers. The redactor seeks to compile as many PPl lines as possible, whilst simultaneously preserving the dramatic presentation of the confessions that is most characteristic of his B-text base. The characteristic emphases and evasions of Ht’s conflated text of the confessions complicate the description of HM 114 as an ‘ABC splice’. The text of PPl in the manuscript might better be described, this essay suggests, as a sort of ‘B+’, deploying C-text materials but in such a way as to enhance and expand rather than alter the distinct literary characteristics of B. The redactor’s methods of compilation also present interesting comparisons with L’s own methods of composition, with both authorial text and scribal redaction showing a tendency toward tell-tale traces of repetition at sites of interpolation.