Getting the story wrong: muddles in manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales | University of Oxford

Getting the story wrong: muddles in manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales

Dr Daniel Wakelin
13:00
Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford
OX1 3BG
Lectures and seminars
FREE
Yes
Recommended

While Geoffrey Chaucer’s great work The Canterbury Tales is supposedly a collection of tales told in person by pilgrims, it first survives in handwritten copies of the 1400s. The Bodleian Library’s many copies, like others, reveal the scribes of these copies muddling the poem in various ways – bowdlerizing it, inventing new passages, leaving gaps, getting baffled by its complexities – but it also shows their craftsmanlike skill in solving problems and correcting errors to make sure that the story was passed on safely to readers then and since.