The F Scribe and the R Manuscript of Piers Plowman B
Paleographical evidence demonstrates that the scribe of B MS. Oxford Corpus Christi College 201 (F) had to hand B MS. Bodleian Rawlinson Poetry 38 (R), and that in certain places he corrected and otherwise interfered with the text of R. The omission in F of the text witnessed by the opening of R fols. 78v and 79r, as well as F’s attempt to “patch” irregular readings in R, show that F descends from R in linear fashion, perhaps taking R as its exemplar. Hence, F holds no value as an independent witness to the B text, and the emendations made to the B text on the sole witness of F by Kane-Donaldson, most of which are carried over into Schmidt’s edition, have no authority.
English Studies 77 (1996): 530-48.