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REVIEWS saved, we may agree, but at the expense of producing in the person of the friar a new incubus, who replaces the old order ofthings with a new one-more plausible and ingratiating, but almost equally dangerous-ofits own. There are also occasional lapses in accuracy, as when Emily is referred to as Theseus's "own daughter" or when the canon is said to return "scraps of silver" ratherthan gold coins to thepriest "as an earnest ofgood faith." The book has a highly selective bibliography but no index. CHARLES A. OWEN,JR. University of Connecticut WILLIAM VANTUONO,ed. The PearlPoems: An Omnibus Edition. Vol. 1: Pearland Cleanness. The Renaissance Imagination,no. 5. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1984. Pp. !viii, 435. $60.00 Vol. 2: Patience and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Renais­ sance Imagination, no. 6. New York and London: Garland Publish­ ing, Inc., 1984. Pp. xxiv, 700. $73.00. Since current scholars and editors generally examine the Pearl poems as a unit, particularly the common themes, symbols, images, and linguistic features threaded throughout the manuscript (British Library MS, Cotton Nero A.x, Art. 3), Vantuono attempts to offer readers a "definitive col­ lected edition" (1:ix). Such a two-volume omnibus edition-produced for specialists (medieval scholars and graduate students)-is designed to pro­ vide a fully documented introduction; accurate texts buttressed by variant readings drawn from thirty-four editions of the Pearl poet's works; com­ plete translations of the texts; extensive variorum commentary; detailed appendices on language, verse techniques, and sources; comprehensive bibliographies; and a full glossary covering all four poems. Each volume is viewed by the editor as a separate entity to be used alone or in conjunction with its companion volume. Whereas the bulk ofthe Introduction and of the appendices is contained in the first volume, "only those parts that are essential to a study of Patience and Gawain are in 2" (1:xiii). In general, Vantuono succeeds admirably in his editorial purposes, for he has pro­ duced first-rate scholarly texts. 257 STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER The introduction (pp. xvii-xli) to the first volume, a carefully docu­ mented review of scholarship on the Pearlpoems, supplies a history of the Cotton Nero manuscript-its dialect, scribal hand, and illustrations. Fur­ thermore Vantuono suggests possible dates and ordering of the poems (Patience, Cleanness, Gawain, and Pearl); quite plausibly, the editor pinpoints Pearl as the last of the poems, for Pearl reflects a real artistic complexity in prosody, structure, symbolism, and symmetrical design. Following his detailed analysis of dating and ordering the poems, the editor traces the critical controversy embracing the identity of the Pearl poet, ranging from Madden's hypothesis, the Scottish poet Huchown, in the early nineteenth century to current scholarly views, perhaps one of the fourteenth-century EnglishJohn de Mascies. Vantuono's criticalevaluation of the Cotton poems concludes with a discussion of the intertwinedvirtues of humility, loyalty, trawpe, and purity and with an analysis of the tripartite structure of Pearland Cleanness. Although the editor's introduc­ tion to the first volume represents a thorough essay substantiated by copious notes, the introduction (pp. ix-xv) to the second volume is too brief, for it focuses only upon the structure of Patience-its roots in the artes praedicandi, its genre, and its four-part division-and upon the circular aspects, dramatic structure, and tripartite divisions of Gawain. The texts of the Cotton Nero poems, however, are edited conservatively with manuscript readings employed whenever appropriate. Rejecting the quatrain arrangement used by Gollancz in his editions of Patience and Cleanness, Vanruono rightly divides the texts of these poems into "verse paragraphs ... for the convenience of the modern reader" (1 :li). Further­ more, the editor generally retains the original orthography of the manu­ script, provides modernized capitalization and punctuation, and silently expands abbreviations and other scribal marks. Important emendations­ thirty-four entries in vol. 1 (pp. liv-lv) and twenty-four entries in vol. 2 (pp. xxi-xxii)-appear as textual notes at the bottom of relevant pages of the texts; "corrections that were apparently made by a second hand in darker brown ink" (l:liv), Middle English alterations probably...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 257-260
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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