Abstract

abstract:

John Lydgate's Fall of Princes is one of the longest poems in English, presenting readers—medieval, early modern, and modern—with an expansive sampling of lives of misbehaving monarchs to peruse. The daunting task of approaching this vast text perhaps motivated early readers to employ available technologies of reading to make the process manageable: tables of contents and other content-related lists. Examination of these tables reveals that Lydgate's various readers chose to break the Fall into discrete parts, each table-maker seemingly laying out a different path for reading. One sixteenth-century annotator of the Bodleian Library's MS Rawlinson C. 448 provided the most exhaustive table in manuscript form, not only cataloging his reading habits but also influencing future perusals. Ultimately, these tables represent ways of understanding the complex structure of the poem, departing from the organization imposed by the poem's form in manuscript to develop individual approaches to the literary work.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1544-399X
Print ISSN
0018-7895
Pages
pp. 1-31
Launched on MUSE
2020-08-29
Open Access
No
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