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Punctuating Malory's Morte Darthur.

My interest in the punctuation of Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur goes back to the mid 1990s, when I started work on a slightly abridged, modern-spelling edition of the work for Oxford World's Classics. (1) That series is aimed directly at modern readers, and Malory's is, I believe, the earliest text they have produced that is not either a translation or a full linguistic modernization. In addition to modernizing the spelling, my own edition provides a short glossary of frequent words and further foot-of-page glossing where either the words or the syntax of the original present difficulties. There were a good number of cheap modern-spelling editions of William Caxton's version available, so producing another seemed rather pointless; and in addition, the best text, and one step closer to Malory's original, is now accepted as being the Winchester manuscript (London, British Library Add. 59678; hereafter W). W had provided the basis for Eugene Vinaver's Works of Sir Thomas Malory in its three successive editions and for the single-volume student edition, but for reasons of copyright I could not take my text direct from those. Neither Stephen H. A. Shepherd's edition (2) nor P.J. C. Field's mighty new edition (3) had yet been published, so I worked directly from the facsimile of W edited by N. R. Ker. (4) The manuscript is now available online, and is available both on the British Library website and, in much higher quality, on the website of The Malory Project. (5) My aim was to keep as close to the original as possible while making the work as accessible as possible: in effect, as accessible to a modern audience as W would have been to its original readers.

As everyone who has edited any Middle English texts knows, accessibility involves punctuation, that largely invisible but always crucial modern addition to a medieval text. A single glance at W in comparison with any of its modern editions shows one immediate major difference: the manuscript presents its text in solid blocks unbroken over several folios, whereas those other editions supply both paragraphing and modern punctuation--conventions of presentation that modern readers require. Editions of Caxton's text, like their original (hereafter Cx), by contrast typically supply no paragraphing within the chapters: a presentation that Vinaver justifiably deplores in his second and third editions, where he paragraphs more extensively than in the first, since lack of paragraphing obscures a "vital aspect of the work," that is, "the substitution of dialogue for narrative." (6) Caxton breaks up his text into chapters that are smaller and therefore more reader-friendly than W's more widely spaced divisions, which are indicated by large capitals; but he bases his chapter divisions in the first instance on the breaks indicated in W, and does so by the same means of litterae notabiliores very similar in appearance to those in the manuscript. Both W and Cx supply punctuation, but their differences from modern conventions, from the absence of paragraphing and the nonexistence of speech marks to the lack of clear differentiation between what we would think of as periods, semicolons, and commas, tend to make for as much difficulty in readability as does the fifteenth-century spelling. In his edition, Vinaver supplies punctuation in a way he thought would best bring out the structure and cadences of Malory's work:
Punctuation can do more than clarify his meaning: it can help to bring
out the rhythm and movement of his prose. The frequent occurrence of
compound sentences strung together by innumerable and's is apt to
obscure the fact that Malory's favourite period is a short one, falling
into not more than three parts, and that, although he sometimes uses a
wider pattern, his natural preference is for crisp and compact
construction. Punctuation can make this apparent and so reveal the real
cadence of Malory's sentences. (7)

This is true, and important; but while noting that "light punctuation has been adopted," which in practice often means added, Vinaver does not note how closely his basic punctuation conforms to that of the manuscript: it seems he arrived at a similar point to the scribes by his own route. I was struck, however, when I was working on the World's Classics edition, how well W's punctuation translated into modern conventions to produce a text that flowed--that did indeed bring out the cadences of Malory's sentences--and I attempted to reproduce that as far as possible, even while modern requirements of familiarity required additions. Stephen Shepherd, in his Norton edition, is equally faithful to a modernized version of W's punctuation; his edition is indeed in many ways the most faithful to the manuscript that we have, including, for instance, his use of a gothic typeface for proper names to indicate W's rubrication. Field does not describe his policy on punctuation, though he does not stray far from the manuscript (or from Vinaver). He reserves a direct reproduction of W's and Cx's original punctuation, in the form of double and single slashes, in citations from the original texts in the apparatus.

W and Cx do however use significantly different forms of punctuation, the most obvious of which is that W punctuates principally with double slashes (//) whereas Cx uses single slashes only (a form of the virgula suspensiva), and the two have different functions. (8) The double slash is a normally a form of paraph mark; (9) alongside its single slashes, Cxuses a different form of paraph mark (C), a form he also uses before his "capitulum" headings, but he uses it much more sparingly than W's double slashes. (10) To keep the distinctions clear, this article continues to refer to those marks as single slashes, double slashes, and paraph marks. Malcolm Parkes notes that the double slash often served as an indication to the rubricator to insert the more formal kind of paraph mark, but also that "it was often left to fulfil the function of the paraph itself." (11) Those different usages of punctuation in turn point to the fact that W and Cx are not merely using different symbols for the same effect, but are actively punctuating by different means and for different purposes. This difference calls into question Field's comment that W's double slashes "may be prompts for the later insertion of paraph marks that were never supplied" (12) (which, given their frequency, would be impractical), and which is also at odds with Parkes's categorization of the double slash as a form of paraph mark in its own right. Shepherd's practice of supplying the more familiar modern form of paraph mark, the pilcrow ([??]), for W's double slashes maybe technically correct, but it has the disadvantage of further de-familiarizing the text, of reducing its accessibility. The scribes of W did not use the more formal paraph symbol; and in the form used by Cx (C) those symbols are much more thinly spaced than W's double slashes, usually (but not consistently) serving as chapter subdivisions. (13)

At first glance, to readers unfamiliar with the punctuation used in both texts, the differences in practice between the manuscript and the print (most obviously, the use of double versus single slashes) do not look very significant. The hypothesis--the argument--of this paper is however that those disparities signal a much larger difference: that W is a text punctuated to facilitate reading aloud, whereas Caxton follows a practice closer to that established for Latin texts. To put it another way, Wis written with the reader in mind, whereas the print is text-based or producer-based. That distinction between two basic kinds of punctuation has been described in various ways, all of which find an echo in the differences between W and Cx: rhythmical as opposed to logical; rhetorical as against grammatical; elocutionary or interpretative as against structural; or punctuating for the narrative as against punctuating for the syntax. (14) In the only detailed study of W's punctuation, D. Thomas Hanks and Jennifer L. Fish explore its rhetorical potential, noting in particular how "intensely audience-centred" it is, and how it compels readers themselves "to construct the syntax" in the very act of reading. (15) Cx by contrast largely constructs the syntax for its readers by its frequent use of virgules, single slashes, to mark off clauses, as was done in Latin, sometimes reinforcing them with a following small capital. Its practice is not altogether consistent, and it will at times print a complex sentence largely undivided, but there is still a clear difference from W. W does not uses single slashes, and the major scribe, Scribe A, uses as his own lighter mark of punctuation simply a small capital (smaller, that is, than the litterae notabiliores that mark new narrative sections); Scribe B's practice is largely the same, but with some differences as discussed below. These small capitals are markedly less intrusive and less frequent than Cx's virgules, but they provide W with a sufficient hierarchy of marked pauses that is dominated more by the movement of the narrative than by the syntactic unit. The small capital is not generally considered as a feature of punctuation, (16) but it very clearly acts as such in W. These features together mean that when the texts are read aloud, the manuscript produces a smoother and more nuanced reading than the print, in that its punctuation follows more the rhythmical and rhetorical patterns of the text. All premodern vernacular texts were likely to have been read out to a group rather than as a silent individual act, or at least to have been written with such presentation in mind; and not least for a work of prose fiction such as the Morte, "reading aloud" seems a much more accurate and natural term than "oral delivery," with its implications of at least some degree of memorization or performance. Individual silent reading gradually became more widespread with the introduction of print, but Malory's text reads as if he was sounding it out to himself in the very process of composition, and the manuscript preserves more of that process.

This is a proposition that is difficult to explain or justify on paper. Rhetorical punctuation requires the intonations of the speaking voice, which cannot be reproduced in print. One needs, moreover, to read one's self into W's rhythms sufficiently to overcome the immediate oddity--the non-recognizability in modern terms--of its punctuation, for even though one can give approximate modern equivalents of medieval punctuation marks, they do not work in quite the same way. Both texts employ a hierarchical range of marks indicating varying degrees of separation, but not only do the form the marks take differ, but they impose different movements on the texts themselves. The nearest modern equivalents for each text are something like this:

small capital: semicolon or period
// (paraph mark): period, paragraph break, speech mark, marker for
shift of direction
[??] (littera notabilior): style of large capital used to indicate a
significant change of subject; much more thinly spaced than Cx's
chapter divisions.

/ (virgule): comma, semicolon, period
/ followed by small capital: period, speech mark
[??] (paraph mark): paragraph
[??] (littera notabilior): style of large capital used to open a
chapter, often with a significant change of subject

At the cost of some repetition, a quick summary of the punctuation practices in each version of the text may be helpful. W has no close equivalent to a modern comma. This might appear confusing, as pauses have to be deduced from the movement of the text itself; but in a process of reading aloud, hesitations over that movement are in practice very rare. W's lightest form of punctuation does not involve any punctuation mark at all, but just the use of the small capital as a sense break roughly equivalent to a modern semicolon or period; it often introduces a conjunction such as "And" or "So," in a further cue from the text. More complicated is the multiple function of W's double slash //, the paraph mark noted by Parkes as indicating a final pause. When it functions as equivalent to a modern paragraph, it works both backwards and forwards, just as modern justified texts mark the end of a paragraph by a short concluding line and the start of the next by an indentation. W's double slash is normally followed by a small capital, so marking it out as stronger than a small capital alone. When the double slash is used for speech, parallels with modern speech marks are often misleading. It is most consistently used as an opening speech mark; it usually appears again at the end of a speech, but it is often omitted there if what has just been said is closely linked to what follows--if, that is, there is no shift in the direction of the narrative, for instance with a question and its reply. It can, for the equal but opposite reason, appear in the middle of a speech if the speaker moves on to a different subject, or a different aspect of the same subject. In these cases, it serves as an indicator to a reader that a shift in intonation is required; but to keep the reader on track, it is consistently followed by a repetition of the speaker's name, for example a second "seyde the kynge." Those repetitions appear awkward in modern terms, but they make excellent sense as aids to a reading aloud.

Cx's commonest punctuation mark, and his only frequent one--much more frequent than anything in W--is the single slash, the virgula suspensiva. This is described by Parkes as being used "to mark the briefest pause or hesitation in a text. Usually it marks the end of a comma [i.e., a division of a colon followed by a minor disjunction of a text where it may be necessary to pause], but in some fourteenth-, fifteenth- and sixteenth-century copies it could be used for all pauses except the final one." (17) This description refers primarily to Latin practice, but it broadly fits Cx's usage too: the virgulae mark syntactic units, often individual clauses though sometimes a run of several together, reinforced by small capitals for such matters as speech indicators. The practice is not, however, consistent, even for speeches.

Within the limitation of soundless print, an extract chosen at random from the manuscript and printed versions will go some way towards demonstrating the differences in the methods of punctuation. (The randomness is, I think, important, as it avoids the possibility of special pleading.) The passage in question is from the episode where Guinevere is accused by Sir Mador of murdering his kinsman Sir Patryse with a poisoned apple at the dinner she had organized for the knights, starting where those who had been at the dinner are dispersing. I have expanded contractions (mostly for [??]-words, much more common in W than in Cx); I have followed W's pattern of capitalization for the "Sir" preceding a proper name, though the pattern appears random (Cx normalizes it to lower case); and I have represented W's rubrication of proper names by italics (no equivalent in Cx). W reads as follows (end of fol. 412r-413r), in a passage in the hand of Scribe A--and it should ideally be read aloud. Superscript letters refer to the following notes; repeated letters refer back to an earlier comparable usage.

And euery knyght yode where hym liked //[.sup.a] So whan the kyng and the quene were togydirs the kynge asked the quene how this case befelle [Than.sup.b] the [quene] seyde [Sir.sup.c] as Iesu be my helpe she wyst not how nother in what [manere.sup.d] // Where ys Sir Launcelot seyde kynge Arthure And he were here he wolde nat grucche to do batayle for you [Sir.sup.b,c] seyde the quene I wote nat where he ys but hys brother and his kynessmen deme that he be nat within thys realme // That me repentith seyde kyng Arthure for and he were here he wolde sone stynte thys stryfe //[.sup.e] Well than I woll counceyle you seyde the kyng (f) that ye go vnto sir Bors and pray him for to batayle for you for Sir Launcelottis sake and vppon my lyff he woll nat refuse you for well I se seyde the kynge that none of the iiii and xxti knights that were at your dyner where sir Patryse was slayne woll do batayle for you nother none of hem woll say well of you and that shall be grete sclaundir to you in thys [court.sup.g] [corruption in text] but now I mysse Sir Launcelot for and he were here he wolde sone putte me in my hartis ease // [What.sup.e] aylith you seyde the kynge that ye can nat kepe sir Launcelot vppon youre syde for wyte you well seyde the kynge who that hath sir Launcelot vppon his party hath the moste man of worship in thys worlde vppon hys syde [Now.sup.h] go youre way seyde the kynge vnto the quene and requyre Sir Bors to do batayle for you for sir Launcelottis sake // [So.sup.i] the quene departed frome the kynge and sente for sir Bors into the chambir and whan he cam she besought hym of succour // Madam seyde he what wolde ye that I ded for I may nat with my worship haue ado in thys mater because I was at the same dyner for drede ony of tho kyghtes wolde haue you in suspeccion / / [Also.sup.e] madam seyde sir [Bors.sup.f] now mysse ye Sir Launcelot for he wolde nat a fayled you in youre right nother in youre wrong // [for.sup.j] whan ye haue bene in right grete daungers he hath succoured you And now ye hath dreuyn hym oute of thys countrey by whom ye and all we were dayly worshipped by hym Therefore madam I meruayle how ye dar for shame to require me to do ony thynge for you In so muche ye haue enchaced oute of your courte by whom we were up borne and honoured // Alias fayre knyght seyde the quene I put me hole in your grace and all that ys amysse I woll amende as ye woll counceyle me [And.sup.k] therwith she kneled downe vppon bothe hir kneys and besought Sir Bors to haue mercy uppon her [other.sup.l] ellis I shall haue a shamefull dethe and therto I neuer offended//

a Lighter than the paraph mark that Cx gives here, this double slash, followed by "So -" and the change of grammatical subject, is sufficient to alert a reader to the new narrative direction.

b The capital marks the change of speaker, but the close connection between Arthur's question and Guinevere's reply means a double slash is unnecessary.

c The start of the speech is sufficiently indicated by the capital for "Sir" and by the word itself.

d The shift from direct speech to indirect is not broken by any punctuation: the underlying thought is continuous.

e The double slash in mid-speech marks a new direction in the speaker's thought: in this first instance, the moment when Arthur turns from voicing his thoughts to addressing Guinevere.

f The repetition after a double slash of "seyde" plus the speaker keeps the reader informed that the speaker is not changing.

g The long run of unpunctuated text after the second "seyde the king" has its movement governed by the clause indicators, "that... that... where... for... nother... that".

h The small capital is sufficient here as Arthur is continuing with his interrogation of Guinevere.

i The double slash and the capital mark a new direction in the narrative; Cx gives a chapter break here.

j The double slash without a following capital is unusual, but "f' may just be a scribal variant on the usual capital form ff-. It signals a light change of intonation, as do the capitals marking off the equivalent of sentences in the rest of Bors's speech.

k The queen's kneeling continues the line of narrative indicated by her speech, therefore no double slash is necessary.

1 The shift from indirect to direct speech does not require a punctuated pause (cf. d above).

In that passage, there are ten instances of the double slash and nine independent small capitals that serve as punctuation (i.e., excluding such things as their use for proper names). Cx by contrast provides one chapter division; two paraph marks, one followed by a small capital and one not; and forty single slashes, (18) of which thirteen are followed by small capitals and 27 are not. Those thirteen include one ambiguous case, a clause starting with "I" where the capital would be required anyway. Apart from midclause instances of "I" and the quasi-proper nouns "Realme" and "Courte," there are no small capitals without a preceding virgule. The most obvious difference between the texts is thus the much denser use of punctuation in Cx; less immediately obvious, but just as important, is the failure of many of these marks to provide a clear hierarchy of inflections and pauses of the kind required for reading aloud. Cx's version of the same passage, from the middle of Book XVIII chapter iv to the start of chapter v, reads as follows. (19)

and euery knyghte wente where it liked hem / [[??].sup.a] So whan the kynge and the quene were to gyders / the kynge asked the quene how this caas bifelle / the quene ansuerd / so god me help I wote not how nor in what maner / where is sir launcelot said kyng Arthur / and he were here he wold not grutche to doo betaille for yow /[.sup.b] Sire sayd the quene I wote not where he is / but his brother and his kynnesmen deme that he be not within this Realme / [that.sup.c] me repenteth sayd kyng Arthur / [For.sup.d] and he were here / he wold soone stynte this stryf / Thenne I wille counceyle yow sayd the kynge [corruption in text here] and vnto sire Bors that ye wil doo bataille for her for sir launcelots sake / And vpon my lyf he wille not refuse yow / For wel I see said the kynge that none of these foure and twenty knyghtes that were with you at your dyner where sir Patryse was slayn that wille doo batail for yow nor none of hem wille saye well of [yow.sup.6] / and that shalle be a grete sklaunder for yow in thys Courte / [Alias.sup.f] said the quene and I maye not doo with all but now I mys sir launcelot / for and he were here / he wold putte me soone to my hertes ease / [[??].sup.8] what eyleth yow said the kynge ye can not kepe sir launcelot vpon your syde / for wete ye wel sayd the kynge who that hath sire Launcelot vpon his partye / hath the moost man of worship in the world vpon his syde / Now goo your way said the kynge vnto the quene / and requyre sir Bors to doo bataille for yow for sire launcelots sake

[??] Capitulum quintum (h)/

[mathematical expression not reproducible] the quene departed from the kynge / and sente for sir Bors in to her chamber / And whan he was come she besought hym of socour / Madame said he / what wold ye that I dyd / for I maye not with my worshyp haue adoo in this mater by cause I was at the same dyner for drede that ony of tho knyghtes wold haue me in suspecyon / [Also.sup.j] madame said sir Bors now mys ye sir launcelot / for he wold not haue fayled yow neyther in ryght nor in wronge / as ye haue wel preued whan ye haue ben in daunger / and now ye haue dryuen hym oute of this countrey / by whome ye and alle we were dayly worshypped by / therfor madame I merueylle how ye dar for shame requyre me to doo ony thynge for yow in soo moche ye haue chaced hym oute of your countrey / by whome we were borne vp and honoured / Alias fayr knyghte sayd the quene I put me holy in your grace / and alle that is done amys / I will amende as ye wille counceyle me / [And.sup.k] therwith she kneled doune vpon bothe her knees / and besought sir Bors to haue mercy vpon her / [outher.sup.1] ()I shall haue a shameful dethe and therto I neuer offended /

a One of Caxton's thinly scattered paraph marks, here signaling a significant change of scene and another stage of the narrative: a kind of lesser chapter division.

b The run of virgules up to this point give no sense of the hierarchy of pauses required between the grammatical units, until the final virgule plus small capital for the start of Guinevere's following speech; the effect is consequently jerkier than in W.

c The virgule signals the following new clause but without a following small capital to distinguish it immediately as a new speech. W provides a double slash before its capitalized "That."

d The stronger breaks that follow, marked by a single slash and following capital (/ For, / And etc.), come mid-speech, though the sense runs on directly from what has just been said; other examples occur throughout the extract.

e The run of unpunctuated syntactic units is less usual in Cx than in W: perhaps here, as sometimes in Latin, because they are all grammatically dependent on a single verb, "see." Other examples occur in Bors's speeches below.

f The virgule plus capital here signals a new speaker; this is Cx's commonest practice, but a virgule without a capital is also widespread, as with the king and queen's first passages of direct speech above, and at c.

g The paraph mark signals a new speaker, but it is not followed by a capital, and there is no significant break in the sense or narrative direction.

h One of the additional chapter breaks inserted in Cx where W offers only a double slash.

i This is Cx's standard typography for starting a new chapter. W uses similar litterae notabiliores for its more widely separated narrative divisions.

j The capital marks a new direction in the same speech, hence also the repetition of the speaker's name.

k The virgule plus capital here signals the transition from speech back to narrative.

1 Unlike in W, a punctuation mark is used to indicate the shift between reported and direct speech, as also in the queen's first speech at the start of the extract.

That the two texts offer different methods of punctuation is evident; the next question must be whether anything can be deduced about Malory's own practice from those differences, and any answer must be much more hypothetical. Scribe A is not, of course, the only copyist at work on W; if Scribe B, who is generally taken to have been the secondary one, followed exactly the same practices as his senior, then the evidence for their reproducing what they found in their exemplar would be strengthened. It has, however, been widely accepted that that exemplar was not Malory's original, so even if the scribes of W were faithful to their copy, that would not clinch the case for the punctuation being Malory's. Moreover, Caxton is known to have had a second manuscript in his workshop, and that could possibly have already contained a more grammatically based punctuation for him to reproduce. The case for Caxton's punctuation being his own, however, is strengthened by the fact that its features as demonstrated in his edition of the Morte are also found in his prints of other comparable prose works, though the evidence is not entirely consistent. His Chronicles of England, in its first 1480 edition, starts off on the first page of its main text using small capitals and puncti but not virgules; but those already begin to appear on the verso of that folio, and they become more frequent as the volume progresses. The edition also uses paraph marks for chapter subdivisions in a manner comparable to the Morte. (20) Charles the Grete, published in the same year as the Morte (1485; STC 5013) and closer to it in genre, shows a practice almost identical to the Morte, with an abundance of single slashes with or without following capitals, and the occasional mid-chapter paraph mark.

If W does contain evidence for Malory's own punctuation, it would lie in the closeness of the practices of its two scribes: the more similar they are, the more likely they are to be following what they found in their exemplar, which, holograph or not, would at least be one degree closer to Malory. The evidence here is suggestive, but not quite conclusive. Scribe B copied folio 35r, folios 45r to 191r, and folios 229v to 346v. On both folios 35r and 45r, Scribe A copies the first few lines as if to provide a model for Scribe B to follow, but on those folios Scribe B departs from Scribe A's punctuation practice in his frequent use of punctus. These are usually but not always followed by small capitals, and there are some independent small capitals without a preceding punctus: the punctus, in other words, functions in the same way as Scribe A's double slash. (21) Towards the end of folio 45r, Scribe B does begin to introduce the double slash alongside the punctus, though somewhat sparingly; but the double slash becomes increasingly common as he continues to copy, and the punctus becomes correspondingly rarer. He abbreviates more heavily than Scribe A, especially for [??]- words; and he also uses the double slash very generously for hyphenation. His copying of the Roman War section uses the double slash to mark a number of the original alliterative lines, though that is to be expected since they tend to be syntactic units. This passage comes from folios 77v to 78r :
// yet he shappis at sir Arthure but the kyng shuntys a lytill and
reches hym a dynte hyje uppon the haunche And ther he swappis hys
Genytrottis in sondir//[.sup.22] Than he rored and brayed and yet
angurly he strykes and fayled of sir Arthure and the erthe hittis that
he kutte into the swarffe a large swerde length and more // than the
kynge sterte up vnto hym and raught hym a buffette and kut his baly in
sunder that out wente the gore that the grasse and the grounde all
foule was begone // Than he kaste away the clubbe and caughte the kynge
in his armys and handeled the kynge so harde that he crusshed his
rybbes // (23)

A more direct comparison with Scribe A's work may be made by a folio such as 120r, a passage in the "Tale of Sir Gareth" that includes quite a lot of conversation, where the double slashes are frequent and serve the same function as those in the passage from the accusation of Guinevere quoted above; and that practice continues into Scribe B's extended later stint on the "Tristram." He is, however, more sparing with independent small capitals (the only one used in the passage above is for "And ther he swappis...'), but more prolific with them after a double slash. If any tentative speculation can be offered based on this, it would be that Scribe B started out on both folios 35r and 45r using his own punctuation practice, which differed from both his exemplar and Scribe A, but then altered that practice to conform more closely to Scribe A's. It may be that that change was at Scribe A's request; but my own cautious inference would be that the increasing consistency in Scribe B's later practice results from his following at least the double slashes that he finds in his exemplar, whether at A's behest or on his own initiative, and that he accustomed himself as he progressed to a more faithful reproduction of what he found in front of him.

This article does not make any claim to being the final word on its subject. Much more remains to be done on Caxton's punctuation practices, not least in relation to his French and Latin sources; on the two scribes of Winchester; and on the punctuation of manuscripts of other fifteenth-century English prose texts. Only then will it become possible to offer a clearer hypothesis about how Malory himself shaped his text, and whether he did so by grammatical principle or by its sounding in the mind and voice.

University of Cambridge


(1.) Sir Thomas Malory: Le Morte Darthur: The Winchester Manuscript, ed. and abridged by Helen Cooper, Oxford World's Classics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).

(2.) Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, ed. Stephen HA. Shepherd (New York: Norton, 2004).

(3.) Sir ThomasMalory: Le Morte Darthur, ed. P.J.C. Field (Cambridge, UK: D.S. Brewer, 2013).

(4.) Sir Thomas Malory, The Winchester Malory: A Facsimile, intro. N.R. Ker, EETS S.S. 4(1976).

(5.) The Malory Project, directed by Takako Kato and designed by Nick Hayward ( I have worked from both this and Ker's EETS facsimile for this article.

(6.) The Works of Sir Thomas Malory, ed. Eugene Vinaver, 3rd ed. revised by P.J. C. Field (Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), cxxiv.

(7.) Ibid.

(8.) I have worked primarily with the facsimile with introduction by Paul Needham, Le Morte d'Arthur / Sir Thomas Malory, printed by William Caxton 1485 (London: Scolar Press, 1976), supplemented by the EEBO copy (STC no. 801); the Malory Project has a digital facsimile in progress.

(9.) The double slash also serves as a hyphen when a word is divided at the end of a line; these are not counted in the analysis that follows.

(10.) On the forms and terminology for punctuation, see M.B. Parkes, Pause and Effect: An Introduction to the History of Punctuation in the West (Aldershot, UK: Scolar Press, 1992), 301-307.

(11.) Ibid., 305; and on the history of the double slash as an independent mark, ibid. 107. He gives an illustration of this usage from a prose text of the Brut closely contemporary with W, ibid. 208, pl. 28, with commentary on 209.

(12.) Field, ed., Le Morte, xliii.

(13.) The paraph marks have been extensively studied by Takako Kato, Caxton's Morte Darthur: The Printing Process and the Authenticity of

the Text, Medium AEvum Monographs NS XXII (Oxford: Medium AEvum Monographs, 2002).

(14.) The emergence of punctuation, and especially in relation to reading aloud, is outlined by Henri-Jean Martin, The History and Power of Writing, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 56-58.

(15.) D. Thomas Hanks, jr., and Jennifer L. Fish, "Beside the Point: Medieval Meanings vs Modern Impositions in editing Malory's Morte Darthur," Neuphilogische Mitteilungen 3rd ser., 98 (1997): 273-289 (274). They do not note W's contrast with Cx.

(16.) Hence Hanks and Fisher's characterization of W as being largely unpunctuated: the absence of distinctive punctuation marks is not at all the same as an absence of signals for pauses or changes of intonation, which are largely carried by these small capitals.

(17.) Parkes, Pause and Effect, 307 (and see 302).

(18.) This count excludes the virgule following the chapter number and the final one.

(19.) This is sig. [Uiiii.sup.v]-[v.sup.r] of the print (image 366 on EEBO).

(20.) STC 9991; the main text (beginning on sig. al) is preceded by an unnumbered contents list.

(21.) Scribe B does, however, divide words at the end of a line much more frequently than Scribe A, and uses the double slash as equivalent to a hyphen. A further difference from Scribe A is B's greater readiness to use abbreviations.

(22.) The rarity of the errors by either scribe in rubricating proper names might suggest that it is itself a practice that they already found in their exemplar; but Scribe B's infamous misunderstanding here of "genytrottis" as a proper name requiring rubrication would potentially call into question the possibility that that might have been Malory's own practice. Malory would hardly have made the mistake himself, though a puzzled scribe might have added it as an extra to what was in his exemplar. 23. The heavy editing of this section of the text in Cx prevents any direct comparison.
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Title Annotation:Sir Thomas Malory
Author:Cooper, Helen
Publication:The Journal of the Early Book Society for the Study of Manuscripts and Printing History
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2018
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