Title page for ETD etd-1008102-162013


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Healy, Christopher Andrew
Author's Email Address chealy4@juno.com
URN etd-1008102-162013
Title The “Minor” Author and the Major Editor: A Case Study in Determining the Canon
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Malcolm Richardson Committee Chair
Carl Freedman Committee Member
Jim Springer Borck Committee Member
Susannah Monta Committee Member
Renita Coleman Dean's Representative
Keywords
  • frederick j. furnivall
  • middle english
  • thomas hoccleve
  • early english text society (eets)
  • canon construction
  • textual editing
Date of Defense 2002-09-12
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This dissertation explores the relationship between a literary work and its printed edition in the production of reputation--the editor as gatekeeper of the reputation of a “minor” poet. That relationship is demonstrated through a case study on the effects of the nineteenth-century edition of the works of the fifteenth-century poet Thomas Hoccleve and an analysis of the lingering effects of the Foucauldian “editor-function.”

The number of surviving manuscripts indicates that Hoccleve’s work was well-regarded during the early fifteenth century, but his reputation fell with that of other non-Chaucerian medieval poets as later critics lost linguistic familiarity with Middle English. The Victorian-era work of the Early English Text Society was intended to reclaim the positive reception for medieval works; however, the EETS offerings achieved just the opposite result for Hoccleve’s poetry and perpetuated the negative reputation the poet had acquired.

Frederick J. Furnivall’s EETS “standard” Hoccleve editions, still in print, are largely unfavorable in the crucial prefatory matter, even though it is rife with transparent Victorian prejudices. Furnivall’s text itself is haphazardly irregular, frequently producing--not reproducing--the same flaws the forewords criticize. As these blemished editions have remained the standard for over a century, Furnivall’s editorial irresponsibility undoubtedly slowed the critical re-evaluation of Hoccleve, which began at the end of the twentieth century.

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