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John J. Thompson, “The Compiler in Action: Robert Thornton and the ‘Thornton Romances’ in Lincoln Cathedral MS 91,” from Manuscripts and Readers in Fifteenth-Century.

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Presentation on theme: "John J. Thompson, “The Compiler in Action: Robert Thornton and the ‘Thornton Romances’ in Lincoln Cathedral MS 91,” from Manuscripts and Readers in Fifteenth-Century."— Presentation transcript:

1 John J. Thompson, “The Compiler in Action: Robert Thornton and the ‘Thornton Romances’ in Lincoln Cathedral MS 91,” from Manuscripts and Readers in Fifteenth-Century England, ed. Pearsall and Griffiths (D.S. Brewer, 1983), p.115.


3 The Romances Listed According to Probable Chronology and Dialect of Original Composition From J. Burke Severs, ed., A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050-1500 (New Haven, 1967), i.13-16. 1225-1300 King Horn: ca. 1225, Southwestern or South Midland. Floris and Blauncheflur: ca. 1250, Southeast Midland. Arthour and Merlin: ca. 1250-1300, Kent. Havelok: ca. 1280-1300, Northeast Midland. Sir Tristrem: late 13th century, Southeast Midland? Northern? Amis and Amiloun: near end of 13th century, East Midland. Guy of Warwick: ca. 1300, Warwickshire. Bevis of Hampton: ca. 1300, Southampton.

4 1300-1350 Richard Coer de Lyon: soon after 1300, mixed Midland of London area (Cambridgeshire? Kent?). The Lyfe of Alisaunder: beginning of 14th century, London. Lai Ie Freine: beginning of 14th century, Southeastern or possibly Westminster- Middlesex. Sir Orfeo: beginning of 14th century, Southeastern or possibly Westminster- Middlesex. Sir Isumbras: early 14th century, East Midland. The King of Tars: early 14th century, London. The Seege of Troye: ca. 1300-25, Northwest Midland. Horn Child: ca. 1320, Yorkshire. Sir Degare: before 1325, probably Southwest Midland. Sir Perceval of Galles: ca. 1300-40, Northern. Ywain and Gawain: ca. 1300-50, Northern. Sir Landeval: ca. 1300-50, Southern. Otuel a Knight: before 1330-40, East Midland. Otuel and Roland: before 1330-40, East Midland. Roland and Vernagu: before 1330-40, East Midland. Libeaus Desconus: ca. 1325-50, Southern. Sir Eglamour of Artois: ca. 1350, Northern or North Midland. Joseph of Arimathie: ca. 1350, West or Southwest Midland. Octavian: ca. 1350, two versions Northern and Southeastern.

5 1350-1400 The Alliterative Alexander Fragments A, B: ca. 1340-70, Gloucestershire. William of Palerne: ca. 1350-61, Southwest Midland. Morte Arthure, alliterative: ca. 1360, Northwest Midland. Gamelyn: ca. 1350-70, Northeast Midland. Arthur: ca. 1350-1400, Southern. Chevalere Assigne: ca. 1350-1400, East Midland. Gest Historiale of the Destruction of Troy: ca. 1350-1400, NW Midland. Athelston: ca. 1355-80, East Midland. The Awntyrs off Arthure at the Terne Wathelyne: after 1375, Northern. Apollonius of Tyre: ca. 1376-81, Southwest Midland. The Fillingham Firumbras: ca. 1375-1400?, East Midland. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: ca. 1375-1400, Northwest Midland. Titus and Vespasian, couplet version: 1375-1400, London or its environs. The Ashmole Sir Firumbras: ca. 1380, Southwestern.

6 1350-1400 (cont) Chaucer's tales. Gower's tales. Siege of Jerusalem, alliterative version,: 1390-1400, Northwest Midland. Le Bone Florence of Rome: late 14th century, North Midland. Sir Cleges: late 14th century, North Midland. lpomadon, tail rime: late 14th century, North Midland-Lancashire. Sir Degrevant: late 14th century, North or Northeast Midland. Sir Triamour: late 14th century, North or Northeast Midland. Sir Amadace: late 14th century, Northwest Midland. Generides: late 14th century, Midland. The Knight of Curtesy and the Fair Lady of Faguell: late 14th century, London or its southern environs. Roberd of Cisyle: late 14th century, Southeast Midland. Sir Launfal: later 14th century, Southeastern. The Sege of Melayne: ca. 1400 or somewhat earlier, Northern.

7 1350-1400 (cont) Duke Roland and Sir Otuel of Spain: ca. 1400, Northern. Emare: ca. 1400, Northeastern. Sir Gowther: ca. 1400, Northeast Midland. The Earl of Toulous: ca. 1400, Northeast Midland. Le Morte Arthur, stanzaic: ca. 1400, Northwest Midland. The Sawdon of Babylon: ca. 1400, East Midland. The Song of Roland: ca. 1400, East Midland. The Laud Troy-Book: ca. 1400, East Midland. Sir Torrent of Portyngale: ca. 1400, East Midland. Syre Gawene and the Carle of Carelyle: ca. 1400, nr. Shropshire.

8 1400-1500 Lydgate's Troy-Book: 1410. Lydgate's Siege of Thebes: 1420-22. Lovelich's History of the Holy Grail: ca. 1420, Southern or South Midland. The Lyfe of Ipomydon, couplets: before 1425, East Midland. Lovelich's Merlin: ca. 1425, Southern or South Midland. The Avowynge of King Arthur: ca. 1425, Northern. King Ponthus: ca. 1400-50, London? The Prose Alexander: 1400-50, Northern. The Prose Siege of Troy: 1425-50, Southern. The Alexander Buik: 1438, Scottish. Amoryus and Cleopes: 1448-49, Norfolk. The Alliterative Alexander Fragment C: ca. 1450, Northumbrian. Eger and Grime: ca. 1450, Northern. The Prose Siege of Thebes: ca. 1450, Southern. The Weddynge of Sir Gawen and Dame Ragnell: ca. 1450, East Midland. The Prose Merlin: ca. 1450.

9 1400-1500 (cont) Ipomedon, prose: ca. 1460, mixed dialect. Malory's The Book oj Arthur and His Knights (Le Morte Darthur): 1469- 70, North Midland. The Jeaste oj Syr Gawayne: ca. 1450-1500, Southern or South Midland. The Taill of Rauf Coilyear: ca. 1465-1500, Scottish. Caxton's The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye: 1469-76?, London. Caxton's History of Jason: 1476-78, London. Caxton's Godefroy of Boloyne: 1481, London. Caxton's Charles the Grete: 1485, London. Caxton's Paris and Vienne: 1485, London. Caxton's Blanchardyn and Eglantine: 1489-91, London. Caxton's The Foure Sonnes of Aymon: 1489-91, London. Caxton's Eneydos: 1490, London. The Cambridge Alexander-Cassamus Fragment: 15th century.

10 1400-1500 (cont) Partonope of Blois, couplet version: 15th century, Southern. Gilbert Hay's Buik of King Alexander: 15th century, Scottish. Lancelot of the Laik: late 15th century, Scottish. Roswall and Lillian: late 15th century, Scottish. The Dublin Alexander Epitome: late 15th century. Golagrus and Gawain: not long before 1500, Scottish. The Grene Knight: ca. 1500, South Midland. The Turke and Gowin: ca. 1500, North or Northwest Midland. The Squyr of Lowe Degre: ca. 1500, East Midland. Melusine: ca. 1500. The Romauns of Partenay: ca. 1500, Northeast Midland. The Three Kings' Sons: ca. 1500. Two Scottish Troy Fragments: probably 15th century, Scottish.

11 After 1500 Clariodus: 16th or 15th century, Scottish. Valentine and Orson: ca. 1502. R. Copland's Helyas, Knight of the Swan: 1504. De Worde's edition of the prose Lyfe oj Joseph: 1511? Pynson's edition of De Sancto Joseph: 1516. Pynson's edition of Here Begynneth the Lyfe of Joseph: 1520. Pynson's edition of A Praysing to Joseph: 1520. De Warde's edition of the prose William of Palerne (frag): 1520-29. The Carle off Carlile: ca. 1500-50, Lancashire. Lord Berners' The Bake qf Duke Huon of Burdeux: ca. 1530. Lord Bcrners' Arthur of Little Britain: before 1533

12 Cursor Mundi (c. 1300)


14 Man of Law’s Prologue, 45-89 But nathelees, certeyn, I kan right now no thrifty tale seyn That Chaucer, thogh he kan but lewedly On metres and on rymyng craftily, Hath seyd hem in swich Englissh as he kan Of olde tyme, as knoweth many a man; And if he have noght seyd hem, leve brother, In o book, he hath seyd hem in another. For he hath toold of loveris up and doun Mo than Ovide made of mencioun In his Episteles, that been ful olde. What sholde I tellen hem, syn they been tolde? In youthe he made of Ceys and Alcione, And sitthen hath he spoken of everichone, Thise noble wyves and thise loveris eke. Whoso that wole his large volume seke, Cleped the Seintes Legende of Cupide, Ther may he seen the large woundes wyde Of Lucresse, and of Babilan Tesbee; T he swerd of Dido for the false Enee; The tree of Phillis for hire Demophon; The pleinte of Dianire and of Hermyon, Of Adriane, and of Isiphilee -- The bareyne yle stondynge in the see -- The dreynte Leandre for his Erro; The teeris of Eleyne, and eek the wo Of Brixseyde, and of the, Ladomya; The crueltee of the, queene Medea, Thy litel children hangynge by the hals, For thy Jason, that was of love so fals! O Ypermystra, Penelopee, Alceste, Youre wifhod he comendeth with the beste! But certeinly no word ne writeth he Of thilke wikke ensample of Canacee, That loved hir owene brother synfully -- Of swiche cursed stories I sey fy! -- Or ellis of Tyro Appollonius, How that the cursed kyng Antiochus Birafte his doghter of hir maydenhede, That is so horrible a tale for to rede, Whan he hir threw upon the pavement. And therfore he, of ful avysement, Nolde nevere write in none of his sermons Of swiche unkynde abhomynacions, Ne I wol noon reherce, if that I may..

15 Lee Patterson, "What Man Artow?': Authorial Self-Definition in Thopas and Melibee," SAC (1989) 117-175 (135). It is the positive that is missing from this picture, a social identity commensurate with Chaucer's literary practice: he is the originator of a national literature in a culture that lacks both the concept of literature and a social identity for those who produce it. Lacking a recognizable role within the social whole, Chaucer is obliged to locate himself outside it.

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