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A Project for a Comprehensive Collation of the Hengwrt and Ellesmere Manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales: The General Prologue

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This paper is an interim report of a project for a computer-assisted comprehensive textual collation between the Hengwrt Manuscript and the Ellesmere Manuscript of The Canterbury Tales. Jimura, Nakao and Matsuo (1995) undertook a comparison of Blake’s (1980) and Robinson’s (1957) editions. Blake’s edition is a faithful reconstruction of the Hengwrt Manuscript and Robinson’s is primarily based on the Ellesmere Manuscript. The present report is a sequel to this collation, but here the objects of our comparison are not editions but manuscripts themselves. Our collation is based on The Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile (Stubbs 2000), one of the excellent achievements of The Canterbury Tales Project (general director, Norman Blake) to the textual criticism of Chaucer. Here we give outline of our current project: the database we used, the collation program, the use of non-standard font (typefaces) in the manuscripts, future research directions, examples from the collation concordances (Appendices). The CD-ROM version of Stubbs (2000) will, we hope, be complemented by our comparative collation text.



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