Academic journal article Parergon

Hamer, Richard, Ed., with Vida Russell, Gilte Legende, Vol. III

Academic journal article Parergon

Hamer, Richard, Ed., with Vida Russell, Gilte Legende, Vol. III

Article excerpt

Hamer, Richard, ed., with Vida Russell, Gilte Legende, Vol. III (Early English Text Society, O.S. 339), Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012; hardback; pp. 550; 2 b/w illustrations; R.R.P. 60.00 [pounds sterling]; ISBN 9780199668175.

The Gilte Legende is a ME translation, with some interesting additions, of Jean de Vignay's French version of the huge, and hugely popular, Latin collection of saints' lives, the Legenda Aurea (c. 1265). According to the colophon in one manuscript, it was made in 1438 by 'a sinful wretch' (p. 2). Richard Hamer, with the assistance of Vida Russell, published an edition of the text itself in two volumes that appeared in 2006 and 2007, with no editorial matter at all except for minimal notes in the first on editorial procedures. As so often with EETS editions of very lengthy texts, the most interesting material--a substantial introduction, notes, and glossary--appears last (if it appears at all). A poor marketing strategy, perhaps.

The Introduction describes in detail the eight complete manuscript witnesses (plus a surprisingly large number of fragments), tabulates which vitae occur in which manuscripts, and discusses the manuscript affiliations. It goes on to consider the various chapters that have been added to the French source or appear in modified form (particularly, lives of Malchus, Alban, John the Baptist, and Catherine of Alexandria). …

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