Title Background

Odd Bits of <i>Troilus and Criseyde</i> and the Rights of Chaucer’s Early Readers

Odd Bits of Troilus and Criseyde and the Rights of Chaucer’s Early Readers

Some sixteen surviving ‘fragments’ of Troilus and Criseyde have little or no value as textual witnesses. Yet, actual perusal of these fragments suggests a variety of reading practices to which Chaucer’s near contemporaries felt entitled. Huntington Library MS HM 143, an authoritative witness to the C text of PPl, also contains two leaves of an otherwise lost Chaucerian manuscript. These inserted pages, which are usually counted as one fragment, preserve two disconnected sets of stanzas, Calkas’s abandonment of Criseyde in Troy (1.71–140) and Troilus’s ruminations following the ‘Canticus Troili’ (1.421–90), ‘translated’, as it were, into the North-West Midland dialect and then apparently considered disposable.