Langland ‘in his Working Clothes’?: Scribe D, Authorial Loose Revision Material, and the Nature of Scribal Intervention.
This paper looks at the scribal activity in the Ilchester MS. (J) and Huntington 114 (Ht), and presents both “new evidence that J’s alliterative improvements are not only… entirely scribal, but demonstrably the work of J’s own scribe (‘Scribe D’)”- the same improvements appear in J as they do in Scribe D’s Harley 7334 (The Canterbury Tales) – and “further evidence about the original shape of the HtJ tradition, both before and immediately after its earliest redactor set to work.” This latter conclusion proceeds from the problem that Ht’s C draft passages are “carelessly hypometric,”despite the fact that Ht “was a prolific copyist of and specialist in alliterative texts,”to the finding that these draft passages were hypometric long before Ht received them. Our re-examining the cue references used to assemble the J prologue raises the possibility that L was “writing cues in an A text for lack of a B, and then later supplied marginal cue references back to the A lines in a B copy, so as to refind his assertions. That would explain the phenomenon that Kane and Donaldson noticed so often, of his having apparently gone back to an A line to revise a corrupt B during the creation of C.” Lastly, that there are no positive references to “lollare”in the HtJ tradition suggests either that L had not yet made up his mind as to whether he would recuperate this otherwise negative term or that an early redactor edited the material out of the loose revision sheets. The essay also supplies in the Appendix a complete transcription of Ht and “a newly corrected reconstruction”of the J Prologue.
Minnis, Middle English Poetry: Texts and Traditions: Essays in Honour of Derek Pearsall, 139-68.