Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-m8qmq Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-23T01:06:43.244Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

10 - MS Digby 86 and Thirteenth-Century Scribal Poetics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 October 2019

Jenni Nuttall
Affiliation:
St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford
Get access

Summary

THE main scribe's enthusiasm for conspicuous verse-form and rhyme is noted throughout Marilyn Corrie's doctoral study of Oxford, BodL, MS Digby 86. It may be manifested in his choice of text: La Besturne highlights rhyme and metre in its exuberant overturning of conventional expectations of versification, as does La Vie de un vallet amerous, while thirty-seven of the fifty lines of Les Deus Chevalers torz ke plederent a Roume end with the word tort (and the remaining lines end in words which assonate with tort). The Latin prayer Regina clemencie Maria vocata (art. 55iii) is structured by rhyme with groups of twenty or eighteen lines ending on the same disyllable. It perhaps also motivates some of the idiosyncratic rewritings and conflations that Corrie so meticulously identifies. The scribe adds a stanza from Le Vers de la mort to La Complainte de Jerusalem possibly because both share the same verse-form. Such attention to form is demonstrated not only in his choices and in his copying, but also in aspects of his mise en texte and mise en page. Quires xxii–xxvi are notable for the exuberance of his wavy red tie-lines extending into the margins. Introducing the manuscript's facsimile, Judith Tschann and Malcolm Parkes observe that the scribe ‘inserted braces to indicate the rhythmic structures of stanzas’, but go no further in explaining what forms are thus articulated.

This chapter dwells at more length on the thought processes that lie behind the Digby scribe's enthusiastic use of red tie-lines, as well as other types of scribal recognition of form, comparing the scribe's behaviour with that of others both near and somewhat further afield. A clutch of West Midland manuscripts relatively close in time and geography share some of their contents with Digby 86 and offer a sample against which to assess his practice. The Trinity manuscript is a trilingual miscellany of religious texts copied c. 1255–60 by at least nine scribes whose English dialects place them in Herefordshire (though one was from Arras in France); it has been associated with the nearby Worcester Franciscans or with one of the Benedictine houses in the area.

Type
Chapter
Information
Interpreting MS Digby 86
A Trilingual Book from Thirteenth-Century Worcestershire
, pp. 197 - 218
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×