Sir Orfeo

Sir Orfeo

Sir Orfeo

Sir Orfeo

Excerpt

In this, the first separate edition of Sir Orfeo since Zielke's edition of 1880, my main purpose has been to present a readable text of all three versions of the poem, which have never before been printed together in full. With this aim in view I have adopted a more liberal and lively style of punctuation than is customary in editions of medieval texts; I have used the dash and the exclamation mark very freely. Moreover, I have punctuated the three texts uniformly, except where a difference of construction or idiom demands a different treatment, so as to facilitate comparison of the three versions. I have relegated all but the most important textual notes to the back of the book, so that the reader's attention may not be distracted unnecessarily; but the expansion of contractions is indicated by italic type, since silent expansion may lead to apparent anomalies of spelling.

In the Introduction I have not attempted to discuss in full the numerous and far-reaching problems raised by Sir Orfeo, but I hope that no important point has been entirely passed over. Where lack of space has obliged me to curtail discussion, I have attempted to present the evidence as fully as possible, so that the reader may judge for himself the validity of my conclusions. I have naturally drawn heavily on the work of many distinguished predecessors in the field, but I have reached new conclusions about both the origin and the dialect of the poem. Instead of providing a formal bibliography, I have preferred to quote my authorities piecemeal in footnotes, so that all the references relevant to any particular point may be found together. The Notes on the Texts are very brief, and are mainly textual and interpretative.

A number of features in the Glossaries call for comment. In view of its great linguistic interest, the Glossary to the Auchinleck text of Sir Orfeo is exhaustive. Since the dialect of the scribe who wrote this text differs from that of the original poem, I have indicated by the symbol r appended to the line-

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