Title Background

Wynnere and Wastoure.

Wynnere and Wastoure.

An edition of WW from the unique manuscript of the poem, BL Add. 31042 (which also contains the only full text of P3A). The language shows evidence of a Midlands or N. Midlands text having been copied by a northern scribe (Robert Thornton). Many of Gollancz’s arguments for dating the poem 1352-53 are inaccurate or inconsistent, and the dates 1352-ca. 1370 are substituted. The poem’s most common line-type contains four or five major stresses, three of which alliterate; and two of which stresses fall in the shorter b-verse, which tends to be more formulaic and rhythmically regular. The poet usually allows only one lightly stressed (or occasionally) unstressed word in each line to alliterate and, in contrast to WL, only in the a-verse. Of 503 lines 477 alliterate aa/ax (here taken as a minimum requirement and hence admitting aax/ax, axa/ax, (a)xa/ax, etc.). The poet rarely composes long sequences of lines sharing the same rhythmic pattern or number of unstressed syllables in the line, and there is no reason to conclude, with Duggan, that xx/xx(x) was regarded as unacceptable. We cannot be sure whether the poem, which seems chiefly concerned to explore the connotations of the words “winning” and “wasting” in the various social and economic contexts of the late Middle Ages, is intended as either a resolved or indeterminate debate.

Rev. Dieter Mehl, Archiv 228 (1991): 391-92; A. S. G. Edwards, YLS 5 (1991): 196-99; Edward Wilson, N&Q ns 52 (1991): 525-27; Helen Barr, MAE 61 (1992): 119-20; Hoyt N. Duggan, RES ns 43 (1992): 405-06; Karen Hodder, MLR 87 (1992): 925-26.


EETS os 297. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.


Trigg, Stephanie, ed.