Material Malory : the Caxton and Winchester documents and a parallel-text edition
The Roman War accounts found in the Winchester manuscript (BL Add 59678) and in Caxton's edition of Le Morte Darthur offer a tale of campaign, strategy, and conquest. Malory's postponement of the traditional disaster it precipitated and the positioning of England within the historical empires of the world make it a critical tale in understanding the issue of geographical politics, governance, and nation within the work. For fifteenth-century audiences, the chapter's concern with geography, empire, and models of kingship sparked radical revisions in order to best express the concerns and perspective of the writer/redactor and its subsequent editor. The two witnesses to Malory's Roman War account are examined, via the textual, ideological, social, and material relation of the two texts, as central in articulating a claim of imperial domain over the "Romaynes and Sarazens" of the exotic East. The Caxton text is studied as a recontextualization of the Roman War account in light of the waning hopes of the Crusades and the early impact of printed maps of Ptolemy's Geographia. This study also analyzes the theoretical underpinnings of the parallel-text edition as an editorial form and its relation to literary studies, with an emphasis on Middle English editing. Four major parallel-text editions from the last twenty years are critiqued. The study articulates guiding principles for scholarly parallel-text editions and provides a parallel-text edition of the Roman War account grounded in those principles. A textual history of the Malory documents and the ideology of 20th century editions, particularly Eugene Vinaver's <i>Works</i> are explored within the context of materialism and "New Philology."
- English