Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Seven Sages of Rome (Midland Version)

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Seven Sages of Rome (Midland Version)

Article excerpt

The Seven Sages of Rome (Midland Version), ed. Jill Whitelock, Early English Text Society, os 324 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). Ixxx + 182 pp. ISBN 0-19-722327-3. £45.00. This is not the first edition of The Seven Sages of Rome, a framed story collection containing fifteen tales of wicked women and wise counsellors, whose Northern and Southern versions have previously been edited by Campbell (1907) and Brunner (1933) respectively. Jill Whitelock's edition is not even the first of the Midland version, extant only in Cambridge University Library MS Dd. 1.17, though this version's limited availability only through Wright's Percy Society edition (1845) justifies her description of it as 'most neglected' (p. vii). What Whitelock does offer, however, is the first full edition and study of the Midland version and its relationship with the other Middle English versions, an undertaking in line with the current appreciation of the value of different refractions of the same text; incidentally, these include a prose version (IPMEP613) which would repay more editorial attention.

In the description of the manuscript more consistency is needed in the identification of the language of the texts, but the account of the volume's collation is as full as one could wish, including a sharp-eyed itemizing of the worn quire and leaf signatures which spots some overlooked by other scholars who have worked on this manuscript recently. …

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