Toward an understanding of medieval bookmaking: the case for Guy of Warwick

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Given the importance of an accurate, well-documented base text for any kind of literary or linguistic analysis, my thesis will consider how the editorial bias forced on a popular and influential medieval romance, the Auchinleck Guy of Warwick, by its EETS editor Julius Zupitza misrepresents the romance's manuscript presentation and has therefore prejudiced scholarship on fourteenth-century bookmaking.

When Zupitza edited the Auchinleck version of the Guy romance, he seems to have had in mind the conventional textual principles upheld by his fellow Victorians. Unfortunately few of these Victorians produced texts which would today be considered acceptable. Though Victorian productions of many works have been replaced by modern editions, Zupitza' s Guy is the only available text of the romance. The failure of Zupitza's text is complicated by the fact that the Auchinleck Manuscript and the Auchinleck Guy, because of its unique division into three poems, figure prominently in medieval bookmaking theory. While three medieval bookmaking theories focus on the Auchinleck, none of the prominent Auchinleck scholars - Laura Loomis, Pamela Robinson, or Timothy Shonk - has recognized how Zupi tza unintentionally manipulates the Auchinleck Guy with his textual presentation of the romance.

By indicating the errors and misleading practices which have shaped Zupitza's presentation of the Auchinleck Guy, I plan to establish the necessity for a new, more accurate critical edition of the Auchinleck Guy and to suggest how a more accurate critical edition can influence literary and bibliographical studies.