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

Speaker
Dr Daniel Wakelin
Event date
Event time
13:00
Venue
Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford
OX1 3BG
Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
FREE
Disabled access?
Yes
Booking required
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.