Gower Bibliography

The Criteria for Scribal Attribution: Dublin, Trinity College, MS 244, Some Early Copies of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, and the Canon of Adam Pynkhurst Manuscripts.

Fletcher, Alan J. "The Criteria for Scribal Attribution: Dublin, Trinity College, MS 244, Some Early Copies of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, and the Canon of Adam Pynkhurst Manuscripts." Review of English Studies 58 (2007), pp. 597-632. ISSN 0034-6551

Review

Fletcher sets himself a multi-pronged task here. He seeks to show 1) that the Dublin, Trinity College MS 244, comparatively little studied, evinces the same hand as that identified by Linne R. Mooney as "Chaucer's scribe," Adam Pynkhurst--or, alternatively, that a sort of "school" of scribes existed headed by Pynkhurst, all of whom practiced in Pynkhurst's shadow and in accord with his hand; 2) that Pynkhurst (or member or members of his "school") copied the Wyclifite prose tracts in Dublin, Trinity College MS 244; and that therefore 3) this manuscript "is not without its implications for the understanding of Chaucer's relation to the textual culture of late-fourteenth century religious radicalism" (p. 597). The argument is only tangentially related to Gower, in that (as Ian Doyle and Malcolm Parkes showed conclusively) the same scribe--Pynkhurst?--copied major manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales and the Confessio Amantis. The inferences are that if Chaucer knew Pynkhurst well enough to write "Adam Scriveyn" in mock reprimand, then Gower must have known him also, since the same hand shows up in a number of important manuscripts of CA; and this in turn "opens various possibilities" such as "a scribe actively providing the poet who employed him with reading material, as well as simply being the passive recipient of that poet's copying commissions . . . . Thus this milieu, that saw the copying of some of the major literary works of the late fourteenth century, would also now need to be seen as a possible context for some of that period's radical vernacular theology" (pg. 629). It should be noted that, for all that Fletcher attempts to stretch these suggestions to embrace Chaucer, he does not venture the same for Gower. [RFY. Copyright. The John Gower Society. JGN 28.2]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Confessio Amantis
Manuscripts and Textual Studies

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