Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Text Criticism cont.

In the comments Derek the Anglican raises a good point worth exploring. Especially when cataloging sermons, we tend to treat similar sermons, or sermons that have adapted another sermon as "the same text." And with Derek I have to say that I do not think that this is a valid procedure. At the very least we should be marking these with some way of differentiating the different versions. We need to recognize that even an adapted sermon or homily is remediated and recontextualized: that ol' problem of continuity with what it borrowed but discontinuity at the same time and the acceptance of a new audience. Sometimes that will be more important than at others.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More Medieval News

Historian: First English Bible Fueled First Fundamentalists

Medieval Justice Not So Medieval

French jails to be converted into swish hotels to cut State’s debts

Church takes first step to redundancy

Medieval pendant found in village

Germans Take Pride in the Wurst

Ancient Roman road map linking Spain to India unveiled

Obituary of Richard Hogg, from The Independent on 10 Dec 2007

Professor Richard Hogg: Historian of the English language
Published: 10 December 2007

Richard Milne Hogg, historian of the English language: born Edinburgh 20 May
1944; Lecturer in English Language, University of Amsterdam 1969-73;
Lecturer in English Language, Lancaster University 1973-80; Smith Professor
of English Language and Medieval Literature, Manchester University
1980-2007; General Editor, Cambridge History of the English Language
1992-2001; FBA 1994; married 1969 Margaret White (two sons); died Manchester
6 September 2007.

Richard Hogg, a world-renowned specialist in the linguistic history of
English, died suddenly midway through the sabbatical year which should have
allowed him to bring important projects on dialectology and on Old English
to completion. His best-known achievement is the six-volume Cambridge
History of the English Language (CHEL, 1992-2001), of which he was General

Hogg's roots were in Edinburgh, where he was born, in 1944, grew up and
studied. After nearly 40 years away, he was still wholly a Scot in speech
and sympathies. His postgraduate career in Edinburgh had begun with two
contrasting academic preoccupations: the Chomskyan analysis of present-day
English syntax on the one hand (his PhD topic), and Middle English dialects
on the other (his research post). In their very different ways, both
represented state-of-the-art linguistics of the time.

At 26 he took up a lectureship in Amsterdam, and four years later he moved
to Lancaster University. In 1980 he arrived at Manchester University as the
surprisingly young Smith Professor of English Language and Medieval
Literature. Not that I recall him ever teaching literature: it was rarely
possible to get him to do anything that he didn't want to.

His early publications are mostly on the syntax of words like "both" and
"none", including the book (English Quantifier Systems, 1977) derived from
his PhD. Increasingly he started to focus on the sounds and forms of
historical English, especially Old English, the period up to about 1100, on
which he became an authority. He tackled linguistic change generally, and an
interest in analogy led to one paper called simply "Snuck" ­ an explanation
for that common variant of "sneaked". He also worked in phonological theory,
publishing the influential textbook Metrical Phonology (1987) with his
colleague and former student, Chris McCully.

The historical strand led to the multi-author Cambridge History of the
English Language (CHEL), a big project which took many years of planning and
good management to bring to successful completion. It has become a standard
work in the field. Hogg himself edited the first volume on the earliest
period of English and wrote the chapter on phonology and morphology. Last
year, we jointly edited a new one-volume History of the English Language,
and Hogg was still working on his own Grammar of Old English (volume 1
published in 1992, volume 2 nearly complete at his death).

He ranged widely. Interests included English dialectology ­ both the facts
of variation in historical and present-day English and the ways in which
scholars have approached these facts. Likewise he followed the history of
English grammar writing and attitudes to language. His main current project,
three-quarters finished, was a history of English dialectology that combined
those themes of language variation and of intellectual and cultural history.
He was planning a joint monograph with his newest colleague, Nuria
Yáñez-Bouza, on the history of prescriptivism in England.

In the mid-1990s Hogg became one of the founding editors (together with Bas
Aarts and me) of a new academic journal published by Cambridge University
Press, English Language and Linguistics. It would look for the best in
English language scholarship, but with a constant eye to its relation with
linguistic theory. In addition to his scholarly expertise, Richard Hogg
brought to the project a shrewd understanding of the academic world and of
academic publishing. Throughout his career he strongly promoted the
importance of English Language studies. Philologists pay close attention to
textual evidence; linguists build theories. Hogg did both.

Although he wore it lightly, Hogg was always a thinker, and time and again
his judgement was proved sound. He came up with imaginative, often
ingenious, suggestions both as a theorist and as an organiser. In meetings
he could talk his way through the twists and turns of a complicated sequence
of ideas with a body language to match. He had acted as Dean of the Faculty
of Arts in Manchester (1990-93), and was influential nationally and
internationally, often called on as adviser or consultant. In 1994 he was
elected a Fellow of the British Academy, and a decade later of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh.

Hogg was fun to have around, always ready for conversation and gossip. His
enthusiasm for the English language was infectious, and in breaks he could
chat with students about football, film or country music. Indeed, the
lectures themselves were often studded with anecdotes. He started a blog in
2006 in an "attempt to expose some of the many fallacies about English".
Church takes first step to redundancy

Monday, December 17, 2007

Good Post

I was going to compose a post on the 12 Days of Christmas, but was beaten to it by someone who said it much better.
Moyen Age
had a very good post on it earlier this week.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Textual Criticism

I'm knee deep in editing my manuscripts again. At least until its time to correct them thar papers and finals next week. But anyway, its brought up a question that started pontificating on back in April. Then I segued into modern applications, but now I want to tackle the problem from a different point of view.

I'll use my own work as an example. The Letter to Sigeweard survives in a single manuscript in its entirety. BUT, 3 other manuscripts have texts that seem to be part of the letter. BUT, those "parts" are not letters: that is, while the text overlaps with the text of the letter, and may a) have been adapted from the letter for other purposes or b) may have been material that Aelfric was preparing for sermons and used to fill out the letter written roughly simultaneously with his work on those sermons. In fact, I'm arguing both depending on which of the other manuscripts is being spoken of.

The issue I want to think about and raise here is about those other "parts." It seems that in each case the overlapping material with the letter is material being used as a sermon. In one case, it is highly improbable that Aelfric made this text into a sermon and so a later redactor adapted this letter for sermonic purposes, as he did also for a couple of other Aelfrician epistles. In the other cases it isn't so clear.

Now the traditional treatment of all these parts is to consider them as part of the "Letter to Sigeweard", though none of the other copies have ever been used to create a critical text of those overlapping portions. The closest we come is the Crawford edition of the letter in EETS The Heptateuch, which edits the main mss and one other that contains a large portion of the text, but does so in parallel columns rather than as a critical text.

So my questions are these: 1) isn't creating a critical edition of the Letter in a sense doing violence to the manuscript context of the adapted portions? 2) how best to produce both a "critical" edition and yet at the same time preserve the texts that appear as separate units in other manuscripts--that they be enjoyed, read, and studied not simply as parts of the Letter to Sigeweard but as independent texts, they are both and should be studied as both.

Still thinking about this....