Gower Bibliography

Caxton’s Copytext of Gower’s Confessio Amantis

Blake, N. F. "Caxton’s Copytext of Gower’s Confessio Amantis." Anglia 85 (1967), pp. 282-293.


Blake examines Macaulay's argument that Caxton used "at least three manuscripts of the poem [CA]" (262) for his own edition of the CA, and that the most likely copytext was Magdalen College, Oxford, 213. First, however, Blake draws attention to Caxton's claim that Gower was from Wales and notes how unusual it is for Caxton to include a table of contents for a poetic work. The latter choice, however, turns out to be an example of Caxton's "opportunism" (284), since he simply adapted Gower's Latin headings for his own table of contents. Blake then returns to his main argument and suggests that all of Caxton's text can be found in third recension MSS (Blake calls this the "intermediate recension"). The problem, nevertheless is that "these features are not to be all found in the same manuscript" (288). Despite this difficulty, Blake suggests that "the balance or probability favours the view that Caxton had only one manuscript" (203). [CvD]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Facsimiles, Editions, and Translations
Confessio Amantis
Manuscripts and Textual Studies

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