Title Background

Makeres of the Mind: Authorial Intention Editorial Practice, Editorial Practice, and <i>The Siege of Jerusalem</i>‘, 

Makeres of the Mind: Authorial Intention Editorial Practice, Editorial Practice, and The Siege of Jerusalem‘, 

This article examines the impact of digital media on the editing of Middle English texts, particularly those that survive in competing manuscript witnesses, and argues that digital media promise an advantageous supersession of print that will bring us far closer to the material conditions and transmission of medieval texts than print ever has. Drawing examples from the alliterative poem The Siege of Jerusalem and the forthcoming Siege of Jerusalem Electronic Archive (SJEA), the essay analyses three advantages that such media offer to creators and users of critical editions: the ability to maintain competing textual authorities rather than obscuring them in textual apparatus; greater flexibility in handling and depicting authorial intention; and the potential to resolve debates between advocates of best-text and eclectic editions by combining both in one archive in a mutually beneficial manner. This is followed by a discussion of specific benefits that the SJEA will offer to the study and criticism of the poem. Using as an example the famous scene in which the starving Jewish mother Mary kills and eats her own child, the article suggests how a study of source texts and manuscripts included in the archive reveal significant variety in the tone and meaning of the passage across the materials that the SJEA will make available. These include John of Tynemouth’s Historia Aurea, which has recently been shown to be the poet’s source for this passage (see item 21 above), variant readings found in B.L. MS Additional 31042, which was copied by Robert Thornton, and Huntington MS Hm 128, and alternate versions of the narrative found in subarchetypes. (TLS)