Normalisation of Accidentals in Middle English Texts: The Paradox of Thomas Hoccleve.
When Kane and Donaldson invoked a corrupt B archetype, thus allowing them to smooth the B text “to fit the pattern established by the A version of the poem,” they stirred up controversy because there was not readily acceptable authority-beyond their own self-proclaimed expertise-to arbitrate the validity of editorial decisions. Many felt safer staying with a “best-text” method of editing medieval documents if the only alternative was such radical subjectivity. The editors of Hoccleve have, like Kane and Donaldson, been tempted to make a leap beyond the strict documentary evidence in editing the Regement of Princes; however, by contrast with the PPl situation, almost all of Hoccleve’s work (the Regement being the sole important exception) survives in holograph, thus allowing the editors to reconstruct a paradigm of Hoccleve’s accidentals. Using this paradigm, the Regement can be normalized to standards evident in other Hoccleve documents.