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384 Comparative Drama The Chester Mystery Cycle: A Reduced Facsimile of Huntington Library MS 2. Leeds Texts and Monographs. Introd. R. M. Lumiansky and David Mills. Leeds: University of Leeds School of English, 1980.£ 2 8 . This volume, the sixth in the series of facsimiles of medieval dramatic manuscripts from the University of Leeds, is of particular interest because it reproduces the manuscript that R. M. Lumiansky and David Mills used as the base text for their edition of the Chester Mystery Cycle (EETS, s.s. 3). Like most of the Chester play manuscripts, Huntington Library MS. 2 (Hm 2) is a generally clean manuscript. It is the best of the four group manuscripts, all of which differ in significant ways from Harley 2124 (H ), the base manuscript for the Deimling-Matthews edition for EETS. The editors have provided an introduction that they say “consolidates, expands somewhat, and alters slightly” the information presented in their edition; however, this modest statement does not suggest the gains that accrue from the format designed for a volume of this kind. The introduction contains a description of the physical make­ up of the manuscript followed by a detailed history of its provenance and discussions of the nature and significance of the nineteenth-century additions and of the sixteenth-century folios. The manuscript was made by Edward Gregorie in 1591 as a readingtext , the editors believe, rather than as an acting-text or a record for the city archives. Its provenance is uncertain or unknown until it came into the hands of the Duke of Devonshire in the early nineteenth century. At some point the first five folios were lost. The present manuscript contains twelve paper folios on which John Payne Collier, so Greg argued, copied the Late Banns and the first pageant from Harley 2013. The editors argue that these five missing folios could not have contained the first play and the Late Banns even if the original scribe had copied the truncated Banns of Bodley 175. Their conclusion is a modification of their tentative view in the EETS edition that the missing leaves may have contained both the Banns and the first pageant. One of the puzzling features—and the occasion of some scholarly discussion—is that the group manuscripts separate the Ironmongers’ Passion from the preceding Trial and FlageVation but do not number the Ironmongers’ pageant separately. In the H MS. and the Late Banns, on the other hand, the two plays are fused and numbered as one. The editors believe that the group manuscripts represent an earlier stage in the cycle’s history when the two plays were separate and that the H MS. represents the later history when the two plays had been merged. There is certainly not a great deal in the Introduction with which one might take issue. The editors have provided an admirably succinct but accurate description of the manuscript and its virtues and faults (there is a selected list of scribal errors, for example). The photographs themselves are clear and the script is easily read. The volume is a fine addition to the series. LAWRENCE M. CLOPPER Indiana University ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
p. 384
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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