Guy of Warwick : study and transcription
The purpose of this thesis is to provide a detailed study of the texts and manuscripts of the Middle English Guy of Warwick, such as is not presently available. The agenda of this investigation is essentially interdisciplinary. Each chapter considers a different set of evidence (literary, historical, manuscript and linguistic). In addition to which, this study benefits from the opportunities offered by new media, incorporating the results of exhaustive and highly accurate computer-enabled searches of a range of late medieval texts. Through this approach it has been possible to integrate and identify links between different areas of research in a way which has been crucial to dispelling various myths and misconceptions which have, in the past, dominated the critical perception of Guy of Warwick. This thesis encourages a view which emphasises the complexity of the textual tradition of Guy of Warwick and rejects past assumptions which over simplify the circumstances of its production and circulation. Chapter 1 considers the place of Guy of Warwick in late medieval literature and culture, assembling the evidence for sources, relations, transmission and reception. This chapter emphasises the protean nature of the romance, its adaptation and regeneration for different contexts and the evidence for a range of responses. Chapter 2 provides, for the first time, a comprehensive account of all of the Guy of Warwick manuscripts, including full codicological descriptions and giving special consideration to the presentation of Guy of Warwick in each. By combining this codicological data with the linguistic findings of Chapter 3, it has here been possible to review and reject a number of theories, most notably concerning the Auchinleck MS, which misinterpret the significance of the manuscript presentation of Guy of Warwick. Chapter 3 uses linguistic data to clarify the relationship between the manuscript texts and the different versions of Guy of Warwick. Traditional dialect analysis is combined with computer-enabled searches to provide detailed information which establishes the origin and circulation of the texts and their literary and stylistic affiliations, including evidence which rejects the traditional Warwickshire origin for the A-version. The thesis is supplemented on CD ROM by new, accurate transcriptions of all the complete texts of Guy of Warwick and a review of Zupitza's 1875-91 edition, including a list of errors.