Ordinatio and Genre in MS CCC 201: A Mediaeval Reading of the B-Text of Piers Plowman
Some of the many scribal corruptions of B-text MS. F (Corpus Christi College MS 201) contribute to a sophisticated “reading” of the poem, in presenting, along with ornamentation and illumination, a new ordinatio. MS. F divides the poem into sixteen passus, conflating B.3-4, B.5-6-7, and B.8-9, with the scribe acting as compilator to reduce the ratio of passus to dream visions from 8:11 (including two inner visions) to 11:16. The manuscript redistributes authentic B-text lines and adds spurious lines to clarify dream vision formal features and to eliminate the category of dream-within-dreams; it offers no scheme of segmentation based on visio / vita or further division of Dowel / Dobet / Dobest. Spurious lines link dreams four and five with the first three visions with added allusions to the locus amoenus landscape; this is reinforced by the conflation of B.13-14, which serves to put B.13 in the Haukyn section of the poem, separated from the narrative of the earlier visions.