George Kane’s Processes of Revision.
The changes proposed by Kane in his revised edition of the A text are motivated by his feeling of having adhered too closely to his base manuscript or the reconstructed A archetype, and are largely the result of comparison with B and C text readings, a methodology he did not employ in his first editing of A. In fact, over 250 readings witnessed by some A manuscripts but rejected by Kane as scribal are also the readings of the B archetype and often C as well. For these rejected readings, Kane believed that agreements in A manuscripts with B(C) were agreements in error, and that A scribes either contaminated their texts with erroneous B(C) readings or introduced them coincidentally. The conclusion that the C reviser used a corrupt text of B and that the B reviser used a corrupt text of A was imposed on Kane to “save” his A text. Of the nineteen lines proposed by K-D as archetypally corrupt in AB and ABC it should be noted that: 1) objections are on alliterative criteria (i.e., lines that are not aaax); 2) if WL took such lines from a scribally corrupt manuscript and put them in B(C) he must at one point have accepted their metrical pattern; 3) the distinctions between revisions, correction, and corruption appear inconsistent; 4) K-D do not consider that WUs alliterative practice may have changed; 5) the agreement of Z with AB or ABC in readings K-D consider scribal further complicates the problem if Z is authorial; and 6) K-D are inconsistent in their treatment of emendation. Moreover, Kane places perhaps too heavy reliance on the principle of difficilior lectio, and does not consider the possibility of WL changing his mind between versions or improving B in C.