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Piers Plowman: The A Version, Will's Visions of Piers Plowman and Do-Well, rev. ed.

Ed. by George Kane, rev. edn (London: The Athlone Press; Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1988). ix + 463 pp. ISBN 0-485-1139-2. 75.00[pounds]. George Kane's superb 1960 edition of the A-Text of Piers Plowman has now been re-issued. The claim to revision rests almost wholly on the new five-page section at the end of the book, which includes a list of the emendations that he would now wish to make to his original text of A; these are not incorporated into the reprinted text nor mentioned in the Introduction or critical apparatus, though at the end of the Preface a 1988 codicil informs us that the text |is unchanged except for correction of typographical error, and for some repunctuation'. In a sporadic comparison of the texts of the first and second editions I have found only one change (not signalled by Kane himself -- at III.65-7 -- as it happens neither a correction of typographical error nor an example of repunctuation); there are also a few sentences of additional information from A. I. Doyle on pp. 5, 7-8 and 14. The significant element in this new edition, therefore, is the list of emendations. Most of these reflect the bolder editorial policy adopted in Kane's joint edition of B. He is now less willing to respect the reconstruction of the hypothetical archetype of the extant A manuscripts which he originally printed in his edition of A, and he often recommends that a reading from B or C (or an editorial emendation) should be substituted for it. The revisions to A recommended in the Introduction to Kane and Donaldson's B-Text (pp. 158-9, 205, 210-11) are not mentioned; nor are the discrepancies between his views in 1975 and 1988.
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Author:Brewer, Charlotte
Publication:Medium Aevum
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1993
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