Title Background

The Middle English ‘Absolute Infinitive’ and the ‘Speech of Book.

The Middle English ‘Absolute Infinitive’ and the ‘Speech of Book.

Determines the general characteristics of the absolute infinitive to be 1) the marker to (sometimes for to); 2) a pronominal, typically nominative subject (when expressed); 3) syntactic function as the verb of a subordinate clause; and 4) modality that derives from that of the main clause rather than from the infinitive clause itself. Finds unlikely Donaldson’s interpretation of Book’s speech in which unioynen and unlouken of 18.258 are taken as absolute infinitives, given the absence of the to marker and the need for the subject to be re-stated in line 258 after a series of conditional clauses. R. E. Kaske’s reading of line 255 as but Jesus [will] rise to life, with all following verbs as infinitives parallel with rise, is considered possible, but the context would then be clarified only at 258. Suggests as a plausible reading to 1yue in 255 as an infinitive with all subsequent verb forms as parallel infinitives.


Groos et al., Magister Regis, 217-40.

Cross Reference



Wittig, Joseph S.