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Troilus and Criseyde: The Question of Chaucer's Revisions Charles A. Owen, Jr. University ofConnecticut In recent years there hss been a rendenry to d;scounr Root's rheo6es about Chaucer's revisions of Trotlus and Criseyde. This tendency has reached its most thorough formulation in the work of Barry Windeatt, especially in his edition of Troilus and Criseyde published by Longman in 1984. 1 The even more critical evaluation of Root's textual work on the Troilus by Ralph Hanna III accepts at a critical point2 Windeatt's statement 1 Geoffrey Chaucer, Trot/us and Cnseyde: A New Edition of "The Book o/Trozlus, "ed. B. A. Windeatt (London and New York: Longman,1984). See also B. A.Windeatt,"The Text of the Troilus," in Mary Salu, ed., Essays on Troilus and Criseyde (Cambrige: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 1-22. R. K. Root's edition is The Book o/Troilus and Cnseyde by Geoffrey Chaucer, Edited ftom All the Known Manuscnpts (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1926; 3d printing, 1945). The complete textual evidence on which the edition is based appeared in Root, The Textual Tradition of Chaucer's Troilus (London and New York: Chaucer Society, 1916, for issue of1912, 1st ser., vol. 99). Page numbers in the text, unless otherwise designated, refer to Windeatt's edition or to Root's Textual Tradition. Root uses subscript numbers for designating manuscripts, superscript numbers for designat­ ing scribes. Thus (H3 refers to the work ofthe third scribe on Harley 3943 (H2). I have followed Root's practice. 2 Ralph Hanna III, "Robert K. Root," in Paul G. Ruggiers., ed., Editing Chaucer: The Great Tradition (Norman, Okla.: Pilgrim Books, 1984), pp. 191-205. See p. 194 and p. 286 and n. 8 for Hanna's acceptance ofWindeatt's "compelling demonstration." Hanna gives a devastating picture ofwhat he takes to be Root's practice as a textual critic. At several crucial points he misrepresents the schematics behind the text ofTroilus and Criseyde. Hanna would have Root insisting that "the textual tradition ofTroilus was unconflated" (p. 194), by which he means that it did not produce texts with readings "from more than one discrete genetic tradition." The Textual Tradition gives the lie to this characterization in many places, for instance, the diagrams on pp. 181 and 272 and chap. 7, "Conclusion," pp. 248-272, passim. Root describes the genealogical relationships between H2 and Ph, H� and H4, and Gg and H5 as "occasionally confused by contamination" (p. 254) and speaks ofthe possibility of"deliber­ ate contamination" (p. 257) in the manuscripts. He says on p. 260,"Contamination undoubt­ edly plays its part in the textual tradition of Troilus; we can see it actually at work under our eyes in the existing MSS, where missing lines have been supplied later from a divergent source." Hanna similarly misrepresents Root's handling ofscribal error, ascribing to him the 155 STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER that what Root postulated as major revisions were from the context always intended to be the part ofthe text they occupy in what he calls the "Cp etc" manuscripts and what Root and McCormickcalledthe "ytexts." Windeatt's arguments from context are thus crucial. If the passages in question were always planned as part ofthe text, his own theories of layered translation receive important support; Root's ofa process ofrevision after the comple­ tion of the Trot/us lose a great deal of their persuasiveness. Let us look first at Troilus's song to Love near the end of book 3. The context for the hymn is a passage in which Chaucer is paraphrasing Boccaccio. The parallel passage in Boccaccio reads (3.66-73): Esso talvolta Pandaro pigliava per mano, e'n un giardin con lui ne gia, e con el pria di Criseida parlava, de! suo valore e della cortesia, poi lietamente con lui cominciava, rimoto tutto da malinconia, dolcemente a cantare in cotal guisa, qua! qui, sanz'alcun mezzo, si divisa: ....3 Chaucer's version reads (3 . 1737-43): And by the hond ful ofte he wolde take This Pandarus, and into gardyn lede, And swich a feste and swich a process make Hym of Criseyde, and of hire...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 155-172
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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