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Normalisation of Accidentals in Middle English Texts: The Paradox of Thomas Hoccleve by D. C. Greetham
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Normalisation of Accidentals in Middle
English Texts: The Paradox of
Thomas Hoccleve [*]
D. C. Greetham

A short while ago in these pages, G. Thomas Tanselle quite properly characterised the editors of mediaeval, biblical, and classical texts as having paid very much more attention to charting the transmission of these texts than to investigating the likely auctorial patterns of usage—particularly with regard to accidentals.[1] In this predilection, the editors of such "ancient" texts had behaved rather differently from their colleagues working in the post-Gutenberg periods, for with the frequent availability of later texts in potentially authoritative printed and manuscript forms, "modern" editors had quite appropriately argued over the relative value of these different stages of the text as representing auctorial intentions (both original


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and final). From these concerns came, for example, Greg's famous distinction between substantives and accidentals. To the mediaevalist, biblicist, and classicist, however, such passions seemed either remote from or irrelevant to the conditions under which they laboured. "Ancient" texts were typically extant only in scribal copies often several hundred years removed from any auctorial intention, and the texts transmitted in these non-authoritative documents had often been copied and recopied so many times that the best one might hope for would be a resuscitation of the so-called "archetype" for the extant manuscripts. From these assumptions came, therefore, not accidentals and substantives, nor indeed an articulated copy-text theory analogous to Greg's, but rather a fascination with stemmatics and filiation, with genealogy, conflation and contamination. The "ancient" editors got Lachmann, Quentin, and Maas, not Greg, Bowers, and Tanselle. And beyond the archetype in Maas' charting[2] of the Lachmannian system, there was a terra incognita where the editor dared not stray.

These dispositions and theoretical interests, arising as they did out of differing documentary circumstances, seemed to offer little chance that editors of the older material would ever need to consider the problems of their authors' preferences (especially in accidentals), since the forms of the text had been so moulded by scribal accretion and interpretation. But in the editing of one ancient field at least—Middle English—there have been signs of a change. When, for example, George Kane and E. Talbot Donaldson invoked the concept of a "corrupt" B archetype in order to facilitate both their denial of authority to the B manuscripts of Piers Plowman, and their consequent smoothing of the B text to fit the pattern established by the A version of the poem,[3] they were making a leap beyond documentary evidence, beyond the infamous archetype, into this very terra incognita of auctorial intention that was supposed to be off-limits to the editor of mediaeval texts. The problem with this particular leap, and the source of the somewhat contentious debate that has surrounded the edition since its publication ten years ago, was that there seemed to be no readily-accepted "authority" (except for the editors'


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proclaimed "knowledge" of their author—derived itself from the "corrupt" documents carrying his text) which could be appealed to as an arbiter of critical decisions. There were no auctorial drafts, no fair copies, no corrected proofs, no annotations on a published text—nor even any auctorial correspondence on such basic issues as whether each line was supposed to fulfil "perfect" alliterative requirements. In sum, one either had to accept Kane and Donaldson's word that they had created Langland for the first time (virtually in despite of the documented textual transmission), or seek to re-edit the work oneself.[4] Perhaps, after all, it might be safer to stay with a version of "best-text" theory, and not to wander into the uncharted territory beyond the archetype.

The ambiguous status of the archetype (and the question of editorial fidelity to its resuscitation) has recently been raised again in Middle English, this time with a very clear connection to the equally problematic status of the accidentals in mediaeval texts, and to the validity of copy-text theory as it relates to those accidentals. The editors of the Hoccleve edition (and specifically of his major work, the Regement of Princes) have been faced with an unusual question: is it possible, considering the peculiar conditions of Hoccleve's texts, to combine orthodox "classical" base-text theory (stemmatics) with orthodox "modern" copy-text theory to produce for the first time an edition of the text of the substantives and auctorial accidentals of a mediaeval work which survives only in scribal copies?

Clearly, the immediate and sensible answer to this question would be "No", for the forty-three scribal copies of the Regement, even though as a group displaying a remarkable degree of conservatism in copying, should not logically provide access to auctorial accidentals in a work which, like virtually all other mediaeval texts, does not exist in holograph, in rough draft, in annotated first edition, or in any other "authorised" form.[5] The major qualification to the question, however, is that nearly


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all of Hoccleve's other works do survive in holograph, and that it might therefore be worth looking at the accidentals of these manuscripts to determine whether there were patterns of auctorial usage that could be employed in the editing of the Regement. This process, if successful, would certainly take us beyond the archetype of the Regement, but in accidentals not in substantives. The "classical" base-text, in collation with the forty-two other extant witnesses of the Regement, would be used in a perfectly conventional manner to establish the "meaning" or the "content" of the text; the paradigms derived from the holographs of the other works (if such paradigms were genuinely demonstrable) would not weaken the status of this orthodox base-text, but would provide it with an overlay of "surface features" that could be shown to represent auctorial intention with regard to accidentals. The entire enterprise would clearly be a hybrid affair and would no doubt provoke (and possibly antagonise) loyalists of both orthodoxies; but the possibility seemed worth pursuing, especially if it could be established that some


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degree of consistency in the Hoccleve holographs was at least likely. This supposition depended in part upon current research on the much wider question of the movement towards standardisation of orthography in the fifteenth century, and of course, Hoccleve's place in any such movement.

It has long been accepted that some degree of standardisation in spelling took place in England during the late Middle Ages. The main influences on this tendency towards a uniform orthography have been variously described as technological (the invention of the printing press, and the resultant fixing of "conservative" forms); religious (the wide dissemination of Wycliffite tracts, in which individual scribal idiosyncracies were levelled out by what was essentially a "factory" system of copying); literary (the dominance of Chaucer and his followers, with the resultant ubiquitousness of South-East Midlands forms in the corpus of literary manuscripts, and subsequently in their incunabula descendants); economic (the growth of London as the centre of trade and finance, coupled with the new sedentary—as opposed to peripatetic—authority of parliament and crown in Westminster); and, most recently, bureaucratic (the installation of a professional class of administrative civil servants to run the business of government). For the student of orthography and spelling history, this last area is clearly of great potential significance (if only because government agencies and their clerical staffs tend to generate so much paperwork). For the Hocclevean editor, textual or literary critic, the bureaucratic move towards standardisation is of paramount importance, for while Hoccleve was indeed an avowed and theoretically devoted Chaucerian (and could therefore have been greatly influenced by the supposed dominance of Chaucerian forms in the fifteenth-century copying of literature), he was also a bureaucrat, in fact, one of the clerks whose major responsibility it was to put into documentary practice the orthographic reforms which characterised the administration of Chancery and its related offices in the fifteenth century.[6]

Hoccleve worked as a clerk in the office of the Privy Seal for many years. Indeed, his labours as clerk, and his supposedly poor remuneration


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as a government hack, become one of the pervasive topics of his poetry.[7] As in the case of Chaucer, who was also a government employee, we do not have any great body of auctorial documents of a professional nature (only one of the identified holographs is "bureaucratic" or "non-literary"), so we cannot directly examine Hoccleve's clerical contribution to the orthographic reforms. However, since Hoccleve was an author as well as scribe, he did leave a considerable corpus of literary materials in his own hand. While, therefore, the content of these manuscripts[8] is clearly very different from that to be expected in the documents typically copied in either Privy Seal or Chancery, their very existence is so unusual (perhaps unique), compared with the scant holograph materials otherwise encountered in Middle English verse,[9] that the Hoccleve manuscripts, whether or not they provided confirmation of the bureaucratic reforms in orthography, would offer a great opportunity to study at first hand the accidentals of a mediaeval poet. It was, therefore, with these two concerns in mind, (the place of the Hoccleve holographs in documenting the standardisation of spelling, and the evidence they might give of auctorially-preferred accidentals), that the Hoccleve editorial team began to chart the usage patterns in the identified holographs. It should be emphasised that the primary purpose of this investigation was always editorial, and not linguistic, palaeographic, or historical. As mentioned above, we were frankly concerned as editors to discover whether there was a sufficient degree of standardisation already present in Hoccleve's usage to allow us to employ the paradigms available in


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the holographs in the attempt to reconstruct the accidentals of the one major Hocclevean work (the Regement) which had not survived in an auctorial fair copy. The analysis of the accidentals of the Hoccleve manuscripts could obviously have significance to historians, palaeographers, and linguists, but our aims were more modest (or perhaps more specific): to overcome the editorial and theoretical limitation traditionally associated with Middle English studies (and outlined at the opening of this essay), that the most one could hope for was to resuscitate the substantives of the archetype.

The editorial philosophy and procedures of the Hoccleve edition are, therefore, a combination of "classical" base-text Lachmannian methodology and "new bibliographical" copy-text theory derived from the Greg-Bowers school.[10] However, while the "reach beyond the archetype" might seem to replicate the Kane-Donaldson intent and method mentioned above, in fact the Hoccleve edition possesses the one editorial and technical tool missing from Kane-Donaldson's critical equipment—a "control" derived directly from auctorial documents, which can then be used to substantiate the emendations in accidentals made in the copy-text (emendations which clearly extend beyond the archetype because they do not depend for their authority upon any document, copy-text or otherwise, carrying the text of the work being edited). The immediate problem for the Hoccleve editors was that the combination of two orthodoxies meant that within mediaeval studies, there was no developed or consistent body of textual theory relating either to the choice of copy-text on "modern" principles or to the normalisation of base-text by reference to documented auctorial preference.[11]


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As practising editors, we are convinced that the paucity of textual theory in this area is directly the result of the typical character of the documentary materials with which most mediaevalists have had to work: scribal copies at several removes from auctorial accidence,[12] with no "control" group of auctorial holographs to consult. However, this does not mean that such general conditions should determine textual theory and practice where some external evidence is available. In principle, therefore, we would endorse the position of Martin L. West in his Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique Applicable to Greek and Latin Texts (1973):

As a general rule it would seem most rational to impose spelling that the original author is most likely to have used (for which the manuscript tradition may not be the best evidence). It is true that he himself may have been inconsistent, and it may be argued that the best manuscript authority should be followed on each occasion. But this will be no reliable guide as to his practice; we shall surely come nearer the truth by regularizing the spelling than by committing ourselves to the vagaries of the tradition. (p. 64)

This position has recently been most convincingly extended (via Greg) to all editing of non-auctorial documents, in the Tanselle SB article on "ancient" editing cited earlier. Tanselle, arguing that West and other biblical, classical, and mediaeval editors sharing this position are in fact merely fulfilling Greg's orthodox view in copy-text theory of printed texts, claims that Greg's theory may be (and ought to be) extended into other fields where the problems are, in fact, similar, even though the documents appear to be of a different order.[13] In other words,


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that (as Housman had objected long ago, and as Greg was also to recognise) there would always be a temptation to yield to the "tyranny of the copy-text"[14] for all features of the text, and consequently to reduce the prerogative of editorial judgement. This temptation to succumb to such tyranny should be resisted, for, as Tanselle notes (p. 65), "any feature of the copy-text that one has good reason for emending can be emended without affecting the status of the copy-text as the text one falls back on at points where no such reason exists to dictate the choice among variants" (i.e., copy-text as "presumptive authority"). This means that even if only some of the "surface features" of the copy-text could be emended by reference to auctorial usage, these changes must be undertaken, admitting that the results will be imperfect, though less imperfect than if no such emendations were attempted. "Indeed, one must ask whether for a work of any period there is ever a justification, from a scholarly point of view, of any aim regarding accidentals other than the reconstruction of the author's own practice; however imperfectly that aim may be realized in many instances, it is the only aim consistent with the view that accidentals are integral to a text" (Tanselle, p. 43). A similar view (and one of particular value to the Hoccleve editors' articulation of a theory of accidentals in a field where such theory has not hitherto been confronted adequately) has been expressed by Fredson Bowers. "Unless Hoccleve were really random and indifferent in spelling, even a false consistency if based on your selection of his authorial mss preferences would conform to Greg's criterion of reproducing accidentals as close as possible to the author's time although admittedly artificial in consistency as his exact own." (Correspondence, 30 April, 1982).

If we were to aim for a greater success than this limited, but necessary, stage, Bowers believes that the Hoccleve editors would have to demonstrate two conditions: a) that Hoccleve is consistent enough that "normalizing would not distort his variability by imposing a false and quite artificial uniformity, and b) that on the evidence [we could justify] extending normalization to words not in authorial mss on morphological considerations" (Bowers, loc. cit.). While acknowledging Greg's warning that normalisation of an early text entails considerable philological difficulties (a position the Hoccleve editors would certainly endorse, both


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in theory and in practice), Bowers nevertheless believes that Greg's copy-text theory, developed for conditions unforeseen by its originator, would tend to support "any attempt, whether or not synthetic, to reproduce accidentals that were at least in part Hoccleve's own and the rest consistent with the time, as against a late scribal copy" (Bowers, loc cit.).[15]

Because the conditions of Hoccleve's text are so very different from those encountered elsewhere in the editing of Middle English literature, it is clear that the proposal to normalise by reference to auctorially-derived paradigms of accidental usage will appear as an anomaly to other mediaevalists; but it may not just offend the practice of medievalists, it may also call into question some of the theoretical assumptions that editors of mediaeval texts have long cherished. I believe it would be fair to say that many mediaevalists still regard any "mixed" text with horror, preferring to trust to the authority of a single document, rather than risk exposing the fragility of editorial judgement. This belief explains in part why we are anxious to emphasise the dual orthodoxies of our editorial method, and to stress the continuity of a developed textual theory in perhaps unfamiliar circumstances. Despite the peculiarities of the Hoccleve text, we believe that the two lines of textual theory (one running from Lachmann to Quentin, Bédier, Dearing and beyond, the other from Greg to Bowers to Tanselle) may both find a logical relevance in the unusually "mixed" conditions of the Regement and its related documents. It is not so much that we are perversely iconoclastic in textual method, but that the Hoccleve text encourages a balanced fidelity to two principles, both of which are present in our procedures.

Having established that the normalisation of copy-text accidentals by reference to auctorial preference was a viable procedure at least theoretically, we then had to create a model for such normalisation, charting the potential relationships among copy-text, the holographs, and a final edited text. This model had to consider the various "levels" of consistency of usage that might be discoverable in the basic documents, and then determine the nature and degree of editorial prerogative that should be expected in transferring the findings of the textual analysis into an edited text that would be responsive to the author's observed intentions, the textual conditions of the documents themselves, and a reader's quite proper expectations of editorial as well as auctorial consistency. As will be explained in detail later in this essay, the holograph accidentals


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were listed in a new computer program which we called HOCCLEX (the same name being used for the resulting lexicon and its statistics), and an additional dictionary of normalised forms was created on microcomputer under the name NORMLEX. These normalised forms, based upon well-attested patterns in HOCCLEX, would be used for the "morphological extension" which Bowers had rightly insisted would have to be a part of our editorial rationale. The resulting model (somewhat simplified in the chart below) attempts to codify the theoretically inevitable relationships that the data-systems embedded in HOCCLEX, NORMLEX, COPY-TEXT, and EDITED TEXT would create.

Normalisation Model

Explanation: This is not a model illustrating the descending significance or the statistical incidence of actual forms, but rather a logical arrangement of "levels" of normalisation, based upon the three major sources for producing the accidentals of the edited text—the HOCCLEX concordance (including a reverse lexicon, on which see below), the NORMLEX "special" dictionary of normalised forms not extant in HOCCLEX, and the copy-text, BL MS. Arundel 38. Furthermore, it is primarily a model for the likely editorial treatment of individual word-forms (or more properly word-form types), not for a system of accidence —either Hoccleve's or that of the scribe of Arundel. It is possible that such a system could be constructed from the evidence lying behind the model, but our unit of comparative data is first always the specific form as it occurs in a specific place or places in the text (i.e., only later, usually through NORMLEX or the reverse lexicon, is a formal morphological pattern extending beyond the immediate evidence of HOCCLEX transferred to the edited text). Similarly, the model—as it reflects our editorial method—is not a lexical study per se; that is, it is concerned with the morphology of the word as it occurs in the text, and not with its lexical identity or history. This is an important consideration in interpreting the model, for while a particular form of a word might not exist in one column, the word itself (in a related form) could very well be extant. This explains the apparent anomaly of level 12, where there is no entry in either the HOCCLEX or the COPY-TEXT columns, and yet there is a 100% entry in the NORMLEX column: i.e., the particular form (say, a third-person singular of a regular verb) happens not to exist in the texts from which HOCCLEX is derived, and the copy-text is either very ambiguous in its preferred forms for this verb in this specific inflected form, or uses an inflection which does not appear in HOCCLEX for this verb, or perhaps not for any verb. Nonetheless, it would be possible to construct the appropriate preferred Hocclevean inflection from HOCCLEX


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and to read that, without ambiguity, into NORMLEX—in an example of the occasional employment of the general principles of accidence as a secondary editorial activity, based on the evidence of HOCCLEX and NORMLEX together. Anomalies such as this notwithstanding, the model still functions primarily as a record of the specific form in the specific word, not of the putative degree of consistency in the idiolect as a whole. In fact, as is readily seen, an entry appears in the NORMLEX column only when there is no entry in the HOCCLEX column; that is, recourse to NORMLEX is taken only when a highly conservative use of HOCCLEX will not produce a well-attested form for the specific inflection (or root) needed. The 100% HOCCLEX forms would be automatically read into NORMLEX but would not need to be cited in editorial work, hence their not recurring in the NORMLEX column. This simply confirms the relatively greater authority of HOCCLEX over NORMLEX (even though, in this case, they carry identical data, so that no choice has to be made between them). The entire procedure is, of course, merely another (post-classical) occurrence of the basic principle of "analogy" as defined by the Alexandrian librarians, editors, and grammarians. One final caveat: since we have not yet created a complete concordance of all copy-text forms to parallel HOCCLEX for the holographs, any statistics cited in the COPY-TEXT column are inevitably less firm (but also less significant for a critical as opposed to a diplomatic edition) than those for HOCCLEX. Frankly, we are not convinced that such a concordance would be of any great value editorially (although it could be of use to palaeographers, philologists, and dialecticians). For although Arundel happens to obey Gregian requirements for copy-text as regards its accidentals, it is essentially being used as a vehicle to present comparative data for the recognition and, where necessary, the construction, of auctorial intentions.                  
1.  100% usage  = 100% usage  HOCCLEX[a] & COPY-TEXT 
2.  100% usage  = high usage  HOCCLEX[b]  
3.  100% usage  = indifferent  HOCCLEX[c]  
4.  100% usage  = low usage  HOCCLEX[d]  
5.  100% usage  HOCCLEX[e]  
6.  90%-99% usage  = 100% usage  HOCCLEX[f]  
7.  1%-90% usage  = 100% usage  HOCCLEX[g] or COPY-TEXT 
8.  100% usage  = 100% usage  NORMLEX[h]  


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9.  100% usage  = high usage  NORMLEX[i]  
10.  100% usage  = indifferent  NORMLEX[j]  
11.  100% usage  = low usage  NORMLEX[k]  
12.  100% usage  NORMLEX[l]  
13.  = 100% usage  COPY-TEXT[m]  
14.  indifferent  indifferent  indifferent  COPY-TEXT[n] or HOCCLEX or NORMLEX 


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Within the theoretical parameters described by this ideal model for normalisation, the Hoccleve editors could now deal with the lexicon itself. Working with Gary Tobey, Charles Wilcox, and John Southard of the Computer Science department of Adelphi University, and using a Prime 800 computer and a FORTRAN language, Peter Farley entered the accidentals of the holograph manuscripts to produce the raw data from which the editorial implementation of normalisation theory could proceed. Initially, we had thought that John Fisher's computer-based analysis of Chancery English (which he very kindly made available to us on tape) might be used for morphological extension, in those circumstances where no paradigm could be discovered in the holographs; for Fisher's material (based on a selection of 90,000 words from public documents) was very much wider in scope than the slim corpus of the Hoccleve manuscripts (6143 word entries in the main Hoccleve concordance).

The Fisher concordance is presented in so-called KWIC (keyword-in-context) format, where the main entry occurs as the central word in a complete line of the print-out. This format is usually regarded as most suitable for prose and therefore is appropriate to Fisher's work on the Chancery documents. The KWIC format can be useful in verse also, especially where enjambment or the repetition of poetic formulae across the line-system is very common. But since Hoccleve generally prefers end-stopped lines, the line itself forms a natural unit, and Farley therefore used the KWOC format (keyword-out-of-context), whereby the main entry is keyed to a separate print-out of the text.[16]

While there are some obvious limitations to the HOCCLEX program, we believe these are comparatively minor, considering our editorial purposes, and we are confident that the evidence we now have will indeed produce the first authoritative computer-assisted text of the accidentals of a Middle English author. Our major innovation (at least in Middle English) is to store the evidence which can be used for the construction of an inflectional system or a paradigm of auctorially-preferred suffixes.[17] This is done very simply, by creating a reverse lexicon as well as the positive one. We did not use a syllabic break-down (perhaps one of our oversights), but we can achieve the same results from being able, say,


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to list all uses of particular letter-clusters. This can be very significant in confirming readings of e.g., a preferred double "ee" over single "e", where otherwise the statistical evidence would be limited to the particular word in question, which nonetheless remains the basic unit of the evaluation. We did not use syntactic codings, although we had developed approximately seventy-five codes for all the major Middle English patterns. The degree of conservatism in the Regement copying makes it unlikely that preferred syntactic or word-order choices would occur that might run counter to the evidence of copy-text. Of the "surface features", we did record punctuation as a separate element (although it is not introduced into the sample normalisation below, and in practice turns out to be largely restricted to the use of the mid-line virgule for caesura), but not capitalisation, which Farley had already analysed independently. Finally, using the dictionary program THE WORD PLUS on a KayPro II Plus 88 microcomputer, a special sub-lexicon (i.e., NORMLEX) has been written by the general editor, listing all forms which can be created by analogy and morphological extension based on HOCCLEX usage, but which do not actually appear in the HOCCLEX lexicon. Furthermore, by first reading the actual morphology of the HOCCLEX text (but not the incidence) into the "Main Dictionary" on THE WORD PLUS (and, of course, erasing the 45,000-word Modern English dictionary on the program and renaming NORMLEX to this Main Dictionary), it is then possible to run any part of the edited (and normalised) text through the microcomputer dictionary programs separately and therefore to establish immediately whether the final text is compatible with either part of the normalisation and, if not, whether this apparent incompatibility is merely the mark of a retained indifferent or unique form from the copy-text (e.g., levels 13 or 14 in the normalisation model) or is a genuine error of judgement by an editor. I should emphasise here that this technical checking of the normalisation results is not intended to suggest that the entire normalisation process is one merely manufactured by a coven of computers. The main-frame computer simply provides the raw data upon which the editorial decisions are based (decisions obviously supported by statistical information), and the microcomputer makes some of this information more readily accessible to the other editors; the dictionary programs do not create the normalisation—they merely record it and check the final text against it.

This is what we found. There is in the Hoccleve holographs a quite remarkable degree of consistency in accidentals, much more so than in Fisher's Chancery English (thereby rendering that concordance, despite its much wider data-base, of less value to us than we had hoped) and


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perhaps more so than in any other English author before the eighteenth century. Hoccleve was obviously a good bureaucrat.

The first trial sections of normalisation suggested that more than two-thirds of the copy-text forms would remain undisturbed, thereby confirming the status of Arundel as a reliable copy-text. As editors, we could now distinguish at this practical level of normalisation three lexical types of relationship between copy-text and the holographs, types in which their representation of the actual conditions of those documents could usually be reassuringly linked to one or other of the theoretical levels delineated in the Normalisation Model.

Normalisation: Lexical Types

    Type 1. A (Copy-Text) and H (Hocclex) Agreement

  • a) Perfect ca. 66%
  • b) Abnormal (very rare): e.g., H 2 x wol, 137 x wole
  • c) Indifferent e.g., A whylom, H 1 x whylom, 4 x whilom. A made, H 28 x maad, 39 x made

    Type 2. Normalisation by Extant Paradigm

  • a) Perfect (i.e., 100% H usage): e.g., his (480/0), is (746/0), it (596/0), noght (19/0), noon (108/0), right (125/0), the (1342/0), thee (359/0), they (219/0), with (189/0)
  • b) Composite e.g., bid-dynge (1+1/0), coyn-worth (8/0), meen-est (11/0), vn-seur (10/0)
  • c) Analogous Forms e.g., H o x -þ, H o x sch; scholde>sholde, rekkyþ>rekketh

    Type 3. Non-Extant Forms

  • a) Possible Analogies e.g., A another (H othir), A asyde (H syde), A feyntyd (H feynte)
  • b) Inflectional/Suffix Analogies e.g., A noysaunce, perchaunce; H substance, penance
  • c) Non-Extant with Fisher/Chancery English Analogies?
  • d) Non-Extant e.g., A Chestre ynne

The first type, with A (Arundel) and H (Hoccleve holograph/HOCCLEX) agreement, is observable at three levels (the Perfect, the Abnormal, and the Indifferent); the second, with normalisation by extant paradigm, is observable at the levels of Perfect, Composite, and Analogous; and the third, with non-extant forms (in HOCCLEX), is observable at four levels (Possible Analogies, Inflectional/Suffix Analogies, Non-Extant with Fisher/Chancery Analogies, and Non-Extant proper.

1a. Perfect Agreement: This level is illustrated throughout the text and can be seen quite clearly in the trial normalisation of two stanzas printed below.


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It is, in practical terms, equivalent to all the cases fitting level one on the Normalisation Model, together with various proportions of those on levels two, three, and four. In brief, the great predominance of this type means that most of the features of A will still remain in the edited version. So, for example, in the first stanza of the extract, O, whyle, I, in, wele, I, was, honoured, And, many, on, of, my, glad, And, now, I, am, on, and, loured, There, how, wo, I, be, bystad, O, lord, &, vnsad, world, nat, mannes, persone, ffor, sone, but, for, good, allone—or forty-two words in fifty-four occurrences—are retained untouched (in this case a ratio of over seventy-five percent retention).

1b. Abnormal Agreement: In this type, there is still a clear agreement between A and H, but the form in A, while extant in H, is demonstrably a statistical aberration. (This unusual case is parallel to the "lower" statistical end of level seven on the Normalisation Model.) For example, the copy-text reading wol does exist in HOCCLEX, but only twice, as against 137 examples of wole. In the face of such overwhelming auctorial preference, the wole form is selected.[18] This type, we should emphasise again, is very rare.

1c. Indifferent Agreement: This third sub-group (properly identical only to level fourteen in the Normalisation Model, but possibly occurring elsewhere depending on one's concept of, and statistical base for, "indifference") illustrates similar indifference in both copy-text and HOCCLEX. Where, for example, A reads whylom and HOCCLEX provides virtually equal occurrences of both whylom and whilom, then the copy-text form would be followed.

2a. Perfect Normalisation: Just as in the first main group, the "Perfect" sub-group in Type 2 is again the most common and the most easily documented. It corresponds to levels two to six in the Normalisation Chart. It is the first case in the Lexical Types chart of major normalisation (i.e. an editorial change in the accidentals of the copy-text). For, in all examples encountered in Type 1 (with the exception of the rare and relatively insignificant 1b), the copy-text reading was retained. As can be seen from both the normalised text and the Lexical Types Chart, the great majority of cases of normalisation fall into this sub-group. Quite simply, this type shows, for example, that Hoccleve spells the third person singular present tense of the verb "to be" is 746 times, and never spells it any other way (e.g., as ys). In the face of such statistics, it would be a shirking of editorial responsibility to ignore this auctorial preference.

2b. Composite Normalisation: This sub-group consists of cases where the complete copy-text word-form is not extant in HOCCLEX, but where we can identify the necessary elements in the word and reconstruct it according to observable auctorial patterns. It therefore corresponds to various levels (from eight to twelve) on the Normalisation Model, depending on the statistical evidence. Thus, while HOCCLEX does not list the word coyn-worth (it may, in fact, be a nonce-word), it does show both coyn and worth, and we can therefore


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speculate with some confidence that Hoccleve would have very much preferred the "-th" to the "-þ" form. This case illustrates the principle which we can often employ in such examples: that while the apparent statistical base may be very small (theoretically non-existent for this compound word), patterns demonstrable elsewhere can reinforce the evidence considerably. That is, since we know (as mentioned earlier) that Hoccleve uses the thorn ("þ") only in the contracted form þt and on no other occasion, the evidence supporting the normalisation to coyn-worth is very much more substantial than this single case might suggest.

2c. Analogous Normalisation: This type is a development of the arguments used in the previous sub-group and therefore also corresponds to levels eight to twelve in the Normalisation Model. For example, although rekketh does not exist in HOCCLEX, and although it is not strictly speaking a composite form but an inflected one, the evidence on "þ" employed in reconstructing coynworth can also be used to substantiate the "-th" inflection in rekketh as auctorial. (See below, on the use of the reverse lexicon, for other examples of inflectional analogies.) Similar evidence can be cited to emend the "longsch" form to "longsh" in such words as scholde or any other orthographic cluster patterns which are similarly consistent in the holographs (and are accessible, as mentioned above, through HOCCLEX's ability to pick out any specific morphological series, not just the word-unit itself).

3a. Non-Extant with Possible Analogy: One question that frequently confronts the Hoccleve editors is—just how common are genuinely non-extant forms in HOCCLEX that have no analogy to the documented forms? For example, the word another does not occur in HOCCLEX (as an orthographically compound word), but the word othir does, spelled with the "-ir" form not the "-er". Should we regard the two words as analogous, and therefore normalise the another to anothir, or should we consider them as representing two separate lexical units in the author's mind, and treat them differently (presumably normalising all copy-text other to othir, but retaining copy-text another because of the "empty" entry in the HOCCLEX column)? That is, are we using the level one or the level fourteen rationales in the Normalisation Model? In this particular case, I think one could argue that the etymology, morphology (and semantic connection) of the two words are similar enough to suggest that another should be dealt with as a type 2b or 2c normalised form. In fact, most examples of apparently non-extant words can be fairly clearly defended as belonging to one of the Type 2 lexical models. This ambiguous Type 3a is entered here largely to emphasise both the conservative ideology of the normalisation process (i.e., that the editor should at first consider whether a genuine anomaly has been found, in appropriate "classical" Pergamanian fashion) and the equally necessary—and in the Hoccleve holographs frequently more successful—conjecturalist search for analogies, in, of course, a "classical" Alexandrian manner.

3b. Inflectional/Suffix Analogies: A similar question to that posed in 3a might also be asked here, for although the principle of inflectional analogy was defended and illustrated under type 2b, it might be debatable whether a specific suffix or inflection could possibly change the lexical identity of the word in the author's mind in a manner similar to that suggested for the another/othir pair. For example, is it significant that Hoccleve, when choosing between an "-ance" and "-aunce" ending to abstract nouns, greatly prefers


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the "-ance" on occasions when it can be considered as a genuine suffix (e.g. in non-monosyllabic words, remembrance, variance, ignorance), as opposed to the much rarer examples of "-aunce" like daunce or chaunce? Or more particularly, can such predilections be used in determining the form of abstract nouns which do not occur in HOCCLEX, e.g. perchaunce, noysaunce? The answer to such paradigmatic questions, and the decision to regard this Type as belonging to level thirteen or one of the NORMLEX levels (eight to twelve) in the Normalisation Model will clearly depend on the statistical and morphological consistency that each suffix presents.

3c. Non-Extant with Fisher Analogies: As mentioned earlier, we had at one point hoped to be able to use the 90,000-word Fisher concordance of bureaucratic Middle English to widen the evidence for morphological extension. Ironically, however, the level of consistency found in Hoccleve seems in general to be even higher than that charted by Fisher, so that while the HOCCLEX concordance is inevitably smaller than the Fisher, it is very much more amenable to the establishment of accidental patterns usable in the normalisation of copy-text. To date, therefore, we have not been able to employ the Fisher concordance with a surety greater than that accorded the HOCCLEX.

3d. Genuine Non-Extant Forms: With all the various qualifications listed above, and with the evidence of the normalised text printed below, it should be clear that genuinely non-extant forms are comparatively rare. That is, it is very unusual for us to come across a word in the copy-text for which there is no paradigm available in HOCCLEX or NORMLEX, either by analogy, composition, or inflection. When such words do occur, they are frequently proper nouns (e.g. Chestre ynne, on the fifth line of the poem), and given the generally-accepted dubiousness of the proper noun in other textual theories (e.g., stemmatics), we are content to allow copy-text the primacy. These cases correspond to level thirteen or even fourteen in the theoretical Normalisation Model, where the "residual authority" of copy-text can be safely invoked without compromising the argument for normalisation.

As mentioned above, one of the potentially most useful features introduced into the HOCCLEX program was the reverse lexicon facility. This automatic rewriting of the basic text-data would allow us to gain access to the concordance not only through conventional alphabetisation, but also through word-endings, thereby making it possible to analyse the holograph morphology for inflections, suffixes, etc. Rather than simply re-store (and re-print) every occurrence of each word both backwards and forwards, the HOCCLEX program uses a code number system (as shown in the listings printed below) which can key the entry in the reverse lexicon back to the similarly numbered main entry in the concordance proper. A typical section of the reverse lexicon appears below.

  • 3435) SI
  • 3230) SIH
  • 2273) SILLE
  • 1826) SINIDIPUC
  • 1922) SITIECED
  • 6099) SIY
  • 1934) SIDEED
  • 5316) SIHT
  • 4034) SIM
  • 1806) SIORC
  • 5400) SITNEMROT
  • 4149) SIDEEN
  • 1541) SIKRELC
  • 867) SIMA
  • 5658) SIOV
  • 3451) SIWI
  • 1399) SIEKRAC
  • 5788) SIKREW
  • 4169) SIN
  • 5413) SIRUOT
  • 6143) SIWY


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This section of the lexicon, therefore, lists every form in the holographs ending in "-is" (including, obviously, the word is itself—entry code 3435). Admittedly, a reverse alphabet does not make for easy reading, and one has to "reform" each word mentally in order to give it its conventional value (although we could have the computer simply print the reverse examples in the orthodox forwards manner). Now, using the key-code, we can trace each form back to the main entry in the concordance and thus to the text itself.

  • 3435) IS (There are 746 listings in the concordance for this entry. They are not given here.)
  • 1934) DEEDIS 3861 (i.e., line number in HOCCLEX text) TOTAL 1
  • 4149) NEEDIS 3863 TOTAL 1
  • 3230) HIS (There are 480 listings in the concordance for this entry. They are not given here.)
  • 5316) THIS (There are 416 listings for this entry in the concordance. They are not given here.)
  • 1541) CLERKIS 2829 TOTAL 1
  • 5788) WERKIS 2831 TOTAL 1
  • 2273) ELLIS 5795 TOTAL 1
  • 4034) MIS (29 listings in concordance)
  • 867) AMIS (12 listings)
  • 4169) NIS 464 TOTAL 1
  • 1826) CUPIDINIS [now deleted in the lexicon] TOTAL 1
  • 1399) CARKEIS 1065 TOTAL 1
  • 1806) CROIS (13 listings)
  • 5658) VOIS (7 listings)
  • 5413) TOURIS 3325 TOTAL 1
  • 1922) DECEITIS 6573 TOTAL 1
  • 5400) TORMENTIS 5702 TOTAL 1
  • 3451) IWIS 4414, 4726 TOTAL 2
  • 6143) YWIS 3839 TOTAL 1
  • 6099) YIS (14 listings)
Omitting the very common words (is, his, this, mis, amis, crois, vois, yis) for reasons which will become clear in a moment, we can produce the following lines from the text of the holographs:
  • 464) IT NIS NE 2HAL BEEN / AS YEE HAN SUPPOSID EXPLICIT EXPLA CUPIDINIS [now deleted in the lexicon]

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The next stage is to compare this group as a whole with other reverse entries in order to establish the comparative data from which possible patterns of auctorial usage might be discerned. Take, for example, the group of entries in the reverse lexicon for words ending in "-ys". The following listings appear:
  • 4430) SYDARAP
  • 4501) SYEP
  • 4688) SYRP
  • 5652) SYWNV
  • 4422) SYELAP
  • 1837) SYETRUC
  • 4619) SYTNERP
  • 4971) SYWTHGIR
  • 3417) SYEN40I
  • 2337) SYMENE
  • 1010) SYUA
  • 2804) SYENRUOF
  • 1508) SYOHC
  • 6033) SYW

Note, first of all, that there is no equivalent listing in the "-ys" group for the is, his, and amis recorded in the "-is" group, thereby establishing that there is 100% consistency in the form of these common words. This information could, however, have been gathered easily enough from a conventional alphabetised concordance, and the usefulness of the reverse lexicon is to measure the frequency and nature of the "-ys" group as a whole against the entries found in the "-is" group. Following the same procedure as before, we can trace the occurrences of all the "-ys" words to the text itself, via the main entry in the main concordance.

  • 4430) PARADYS 1592, 5412 TOTAL 2
  • 4422) PALEYS 1572, 3112, 4814 TOTAL 3
  • 3417) I04NEYS 6491 TOTAL 1
  • 2804) FOURNEYS 5459 TOTAL 1
  • 4501) PEYS 1484 TOTAL 1
  • 1837) CURTEYS 4528, 5770 TOTAL 2
  • 2337) ENEMYS 5506 TOTAL 1
  • 1508) CHOYS 5997 TOTAL 1
  • 4688) PRYS (7 listings)
  • 4619) PRENTYS 1036 TOTAL 1
  • 1010) AUYS 3551, 3674, 3691, 3702 TOTAL 4
  • 6033) WYS (9 listings)
  • 5652) VNWYS 77, 2481, 5508 TOTAL 3
  • 4971) RIGHTWYS 5587 TOTAL 1
These entries appear in the text as:

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Certain patterns now begin to appear. At first glance, it might seem that the incidence of "-is" and "-ys" forms is virtually indifferent, for there are twenty-one entries in the reverse lexicon for "-is" and fourteen for "-ys". But there are several qualifications to be made to this apparent indifference, some of them directly helpful in the establishing of auctorial norms. Thus, it can be seen that in fact none of the fourteen entries in the "-ys" group (as observable in the thirty-seven actual occurrences in the text) are genuine inflections in "-ys". Some (paradys, paleys, fourneys, peys, choys, prys, prentys, auys, wys, vnwys, and rightwys) are simply part of the basic root of the word or its composite form, and while they might be useful in charting auctorial spelling preferences for these individual words—or the morphological types they represent—they are irrelevant to a determination of a preference between the "-is" and "-ys" as suffixes or inflections. Others (io4neys, enemys), while showing inflected forms (plurals), are based on a root which already ends in "y" and can therefore be similarly disregarded as evidence for a "-ys" / "-is" inflectional choice. When we compare this poor showing of the "-ys" group with the evidence of the "-is" group, we can first admit that, again, there are several "-is" forms which are part of the root of the word itself (is, his, this, ellis, amis, carkeis, crois, vois, and yis). There are also three contracted or composite forms (nis, iwis, ywis) which similarly have no inflectional significance. The Latin entry (cupidinis) is obviously of no value to the English accidence (and has in fact been deleted from the concordance), and the prefix mis, while clearly confirming an auctorial preference for the "is" spelling over the "ys", should not be cited in the inflectional evidence. However, that still leaves deedis, needis, clerkis, werkis, touris, deceitis, and tormentis, all of which are genuine plural forms in "-is" and suggest (unlike any form in the "-ys" group), a distinct auctorial pattern for this inflection.

This brief analysis of one very small variant as charted in the reverse lexicon is obviously both incomplete and constructed on such a small data-base as to make absolute surety difficult to demonstrate. It is offered here largely because the data-base is so small and can therefore be presented


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Copy-Text Transcript  Normalised with Annotations  Clear Text Edited Version 
(101)  (101)  (101) 
O whyle I stode in welesemiinv. I was honoured  O whyle I stood in wele I was honoured[1]   O whyle I stood in wele I was honoured 
And many on of my compaygne glad  And many on of my conpaignie glad  And many on of my conpaignie glad 
(27/0) (2/0+33/4) 
And now I am mylongslokyd on and loured  And now I am milongslookid on and [loured]  And now I am milongslookid on and loured 
There rekkyþ non; how wo I be bylongstad  There rekketh [2] noon how wo I be bylongstad  There rekketh noon how wo I be bylongstad 
(418/1) (50/1) (3/0) (746/0) 
O lord thys worlde vnlongstabel ys & vnlongsad  5 O lord this world vnlongstable is & vnlongsad  5 O lord this world vnlongstable is & vnlongsad 5 
Thys world honnuryþ nat mannes perlongsone  This world hon[ury]th [3] nat mannes perlongsone  This world honnuryth nat mannes perlongsone 
(254/10) (41/0) 
ffor hym longsylfsemiinv. longsone but for good allone  ffor him longself sone but for good allone  ffor him longself longsone but for good allone 
(102)  (102)  (102) 
fful longsothe fynde I the word of longsalomon  fful longsoothe fynde I the word of longsalomon  fful longsoothe fynde I the word of longsalomon 
That to many obeyen al thynkys  That to many obeyen al thynges  That to many obeyen al thynges 
(8/0) (746/0) (4/0) 
ffor that my coyn and coynworþ ys a gon  10 ffor that my coyn and coynworth is agoo 10 ffor that my coyn and coynworth is agoon 
(29/0+37/0) (1/0+1/0) 
Contrarien they my wylle and my byddynge   Contrarien they my wil and my biddynge  Contrarien they my wil and my biddynge 10 
(189/0+45/0) (415/0) 
That in my welthe wyth her flaterynges  That in my welthe with hir flaterynges  That in my welthe with hir flaterynges 
(189/0+45/0) (109/2 + 13/2) 
Helden wyth me what þt I wroght or longseyde  Helden with me what þt I wroght or longseide  Helden with me what þt I wroght or longseide 
Now dilongsobeyen they that thanne obeyde  Now dilongsobeyen they that thanne obeyde  Now dilongsobeyen they that thanne obeyde 


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virtually intact (with the exception of, for example, the total listings for the contexts of such common words as his, is, and this). It is intended merely to show the method for establishing paradigms via the reverse lexicon, and to chart a typical example of consistency of usage, resulting in a 100% figure, even though in this case that 100% represents only seven different words in one column, with a zero showing in the other possible choice. If this example were used as a means of determining a system of accidence for all plural nouns in Hoccleve, it would obviously be a misguided editorial procedure (for example, we would first have to add to the data-base all other possible plural forms which might compete with the recorded "-is" preference. However, it can tell us that, in this limited case, Hoccleve never uses the "-ys" form as a genuine plural inflection and, therefore, that a "-ys" plural in copy-text should be viewed with extreme suspicion, and very likely emended by reference to this "-is" group (and certainly if the copy-text produced a "-ys" for any of the seven words in the control group itself).

The first point to be emphasised is that this brief selection from the text of the Hoccleve Regement, in its copy-text, annotated, and clear-text forms, is intended to provide as wide a range as possible of the "levels" of normalisation and the various editorial procedures used to deal with these levels. The text has, therefore, been consciously "over-normalised", in the sense that any possibility for normalisation has at least been charted in the annotations. The text as a whole has, in general, a much lower level of editorial participation, although even this particularly problematical section does display the typically reassuring accumulation of evidence (from HOCCLEX, the reverse lexicon, and NORMLEX) upon which decisions to normalise can usually be made with confidence.

The first column is a diplomatic transcript of stanzas 101 and 102 of the Arundel manuscript. Word-division and punctuation in the manuscript are retained, and there is none of the conventional normalisation often occurring in otherwise conservative editions (e.g., initial "ff" is not normalised to capital "F", although it clearly has this function throughout the manuscript). The purpose of providing the copy-text transcript is merely to show the typical raw material with which the Hoccleve editors are faced, and, of course, to demonstrate that, despite the apparent complexity of the annotations in the normalised version, the rate of editorial normalisation per word of Arundel text is really quite modest.

The annotated version can be read as follows:

1. All changes in the accidentals of the copy-text are recorded by italics: thus from copy-text line 1 "longstode" to normalised "longstood"; from line 3 "mylongslokyd"


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to normalised "milongslookid"; from line 4 "non" to normalised "noon"; from line 5 "thys" to normalised "this" etc. An exception to this general rule is where, for example, an additional element in copy-text (usually final "-e") is not present in the normalised version, e.g., copy-text line 5 "worlde" to normalised "world".

2. The statistical evidence for the normalisation is cited (in parentheses) above the normalised form, with the HOCCLEX figure supporting the normalised form being given before the slash and any HOCCLEX evidence for a form similar to the copy-text form being given after the slash. This latter will obviously almost always register as a zero. In compound or inflected words (or in words which also occur in HOCCLEX in a compound or inflected state, in addition to the root form listed in copy-text) a second statistic is frequently cited, after a "+" sign. Thus, in a case like line 12 (copy-text "wyth", normalised to "with"), there are 189 occurrences of this root word in HOCCLEX, and in every case Hoccleve spells the word "with", and never "wyth". In addition, there are forty-five other occurrences, in words built upon the root "with" (e.g., "within", "without" etc.), where again Hoccleve uniformly employs the "i" form instead of the "y". This sort of cumulative or parallel evidence is obviously of comparatively small significance when the original data for the word are so conclusive, but may be of great value in cases where the root word is relatively rare, and when the existence of related forms may widen the base for normalisation considerably. Note that analogous morphological preferences derived from different roots are not cited in the statistical evidence above the normalised form, although there are occasions when such evidence might be extremely useful. Thus, the normalised form "agoon" in line 10 is supported by a 100% usage pattern in HOCCLEX, but one which apparently relies upon only four occurrences of the form itself. In fact, the auctorial preference for an orthographic doubling of the character to signal a long vowel can be observed in several other places even in this brief selection (line 1, "longstood", line 3 "lookid", line 4 "noon", and line 8 "longsoothe"). The cumulative evidence may therefore often be very much more substantial than the statistics could suggest. Sometimes, of course, the "extended" statistic after the "+" will be less decisive than the smaller-based statistic for the word proper. (E.g., in line 3 the combined normalisations in "lookid" as compared to copy-text "lokyd" are supported by a 100% occurrence in HOCCLEX of the form "lookid": i.e., Hoccleve always spells the past participle of "look" in this way, even though this particular inflection appears only twice. On those occasions where other parts of the conjugation of the verb appear, he uses "oo" thirty-three times and "o" three times.) In a case such as this, we base the normalisation on the principle of the specific form acting as the unit for comparative data, an argument which, as emphasised earlier, underlies the entire normalisation enterprise.

3. Where the copy-text word does not exist at all in HOCCLEX, then it is enclosed in square brackets, e.g., line 3 [loured]. As suggested above, copy-text form is therefore accepted. Of course, through the reverse lexicon and NORMLEX, it might frequently be possible to create a plausible auctorial form for the word, but in general a conservative method has been endorsed for these comparatively rare cases. Note that square brackets may also be used for sections of a word for which there is no exact (or secure) parallel in HOCCLEX. In these cases, an explanatory footnote provides details on the


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problem. For example, we can be fairly certain that, in line 6, Hoccleve would not have used the double "nn" form of copy-text honnuryþ (see the series of single "n" forms listed in the footnote). But since the third person singular of the present tense does not occur in HOCCLEX, and since he varies his practice between a "u" and a "ou" in the second syllable of the word, we cannot be absolutely sure what the preferred form would be for this element, and thus we place it in brackets. Now, it could be argued that the evidence of the footnote suggests that Hoccleve uses the "ou" form only in nouns (the 20 x honour), and that "u" is clearly the preferred form for verbs. It could, of course, ironically, be argued that the supralinear "u" in copy-text indicates an omitted character (most likely "o"?), so that we would, by combining these arguments, displace a copy-text "honnouryþ" by a normalised honuryth (without brackets). However, in the circumstances it seemed more prudent to normalise what we were sure about, and to point to the ambivalence by using the brackets. Note that in line 1 the copy-text form, which in this case is spelled out in full (honoured) not contracted, does provide a model which (as far as its single "n" and its "ou" are concerned) does have analogies in HOCCLEX, but not in this form for this inflection. Again, a conservative approach seemed best and copy-text is retained, with the appropriate annotation. Eventually, of course, the accumulation of similar annotation and the incorporation of its results into NORMLEX might provide enough information to substantiate a paradigmatic normalised form in the edited text.

4. Footnotes are used to provide any additional information which cannot easily be accommodated by the square brackets or statistics alone (as in the case of honuryth). Thus, for example, footnote 2 emphasises that the form rekken does occur four times in HOCCLEX (and is therefore not an unattested word to be placed in brackets), and that Hoccleve never uses the thorn ("þ") as an inflected form. In practice, of course, such notes, being inevitably very repetitive, are kept to a minimum and their general principles enumerated in the textual introduction.

As is rather obvious, we are very doubtful that the published form of the normalised text of Hoccleve's Regement will have the luxury of being able to present all of this annotated material on the textual page, and we suspect that the famous "barbed wire" of editorial intervention would in this case severely interfere with the reader's access to Hoccleve's text. It is presented in this state here largely to demonstrate the type, range, and level of surety the normalisation process encounters. The explanatory material could no doubt work equally well in a conventional apparatus (distinguished, of course, from substantive emendation, which certainly occurs much less frequently), with appropriate lemma-keying to the stanzaic page.

The laws of textual disclosure might indeed suggest that the traces of our editorial handiwork with regard to accidentals should be made available to the critical reader in the apparatus, so that the complete textual features—surface and otherwise—of the copy-text could be recreated


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out of this apparatus. As mentioned earlier, such a desideratum would involve a lemma-entry in the apparatus for roughly one-third of the individual words in the copy-text. Given that only one witness—Arundel itself—would need to be cited (compared to the more than forty witnesses whose readings would have to be listed in a complete historical collation of the rarer substantive variants), this level of editorial openhandedness would not necessarily result in an apparatus more unwieldy than those already produced for other mediaeval works, particularly those with multiple authority. However, it is debatable whether all of this material would be required by the typical reader (historian, political scientist, literary critic) of the stanzaic page, and it is likely that the apparatus reconstructing the accidentals of Arundel will occur in a separate microform addendum to the edition, along with the complete historical collation. It might be argued that, since Arundel is only a vehicle (albeit a relatively consistent and reliable one) for the reconstruction of auctorial accidentals, then neither editor nor reader should be greatly concerned with its surface features per se, and that even a microform accidentals apparatus is thus an editorial luxury. However, we do not want the normalisation to be entirely silent, and therefore the microform addendum can at least function as a record of what we have done, demonstrating we trust the validity and coherence of our editorial decisions.[20]

The confidence with which normalisation may proceed obviously depends upon our following a procedure which is careful, consistent, and conservative. When the normalised form is created, it must be based on a rigorous application of formal principles of documentary evidence, and all dubious cases must be emended only as far as that documentary evidence and its analogies will allow. In our case, these principles translate into the following practices:

1. Normalisation always moves outward from the copy-text form. That means that if the copy-text form is well-attested in HOCCLEX, then in almost all cases it should be used. Copy-text is first checked against HOCCLEX, the editor being careful to consider the various related forms under which the base word might occur (e.g., variants in initial "longs"—or "2" in the print-out —and "s").

2. If copy-text form does not occur in HOCCLEX, then the editor considers the other related evidence in HOCCLEX (but not yet NORMLEX). If there is 100% preference recorded for the word in question, then this recorded usage will normally be substituted for copy-text. Where there is a range of usage patterns, NORMLEX may be consulted to discover whether there is a general principle underlying the variants. However, if the HOCCLEX variants


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are clearly indifferent, then the reading in HOCCLEX duplicating the copy-text form should be used. If none of the forms in HOCCLEX replicates copy-text, and no analogies or general principles are derivable from NORMLEX, then copy-text is followed, perhaps with an explanatory note.

3. Statistics are compiled not only for the specific form in question, but for all related forms derived from the same root. These statistics are presented in the apparatus.

4. Finally, all forms in the normalised text are run through the dictionary program for HOCCLEX and for NORMLEX, so that any aberrancies may be checked in context. These aberrancies may, of course, be copy-text forms which do not fit any of the patterns of normalisation so far established, in which case they will not be "recognised" by the HOCCLEX and NORMLEX dictionaries. A check against copy-text context will confirm the status of these non-normalised forms.

The specific conditions of the Hoccleve oeuvre, with a substantial body of holographs of minor works, together with the text of a major work available only in many scribal copies, are no doubt so unusual that it would be difficult to find immediately useful theories or practices derived from the Hoccleve editing that could be incorporated into the editorial principles of scholars working either in mediaeval or other periods. With the exception of the Ormulum and possibly the The Equatorie of the Planetis mentioned earlier (see footnote 9)—neither of which is really parallel to the Hoccleve problem—there are virtually no examples in Middle English literature of a document purporting to represent auctorial preferences in accidentals. Where holographs do exist in other periods, they are, of course, most often versions of the very work being edited, and may either be rejected as copy-text in favour of a printed edition or used for accidentals according to the principles enunciated by Greg and his followers. And when putative holographs of works other than that being edited do occur, their possible value as paradigms for accidentals or other auctorial preferences (e.g., of style, imagery etc.) has more often been the source of editorial contention than consensus. One thinks inevitably of the various attempts to determine the content and style of the entire Shakespeare canon from the characteristics of the famous "Hand D" in the fragment of Sir Thomas More. The issue may simply be that the desired consistency in accidentals is not demonstrably clear enough in the limited data available, and that therefore the admittedly scribal/compositorial features of a non-auctorial copy (printed or otherwise) are less problematical than an attempt to resuscitate auctorial preferences from such holographs, especially where a copy-text reasonably close to the author's time and language may be selected.

But the Hoccleve holographs do not have such limitations. They contain a comparatively large body of material (in fact, nearly 7,000 lines of verse, a slightly larger lexicon-base than the poem of 5,000 lines for which


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they provide the comparative data). They display a quite remarkable degree of consistency—more so than any previous scholars of fifteenth-century English had anticipated; and while their lexicon is obviously not completely identical to that created by the necessities of the different subject-matter of the Regement, the lexical overlap is so practically useful that there are very few occasions where the editor is left without some paradigm or other. And finally, unlike the Chaucer Equatorie, the Hoccleve holographs are in the same medium (verse) as the rest of the oeuvre, and usually employ the same metrical and strophic patterns. For all of these reasons, the Hoccleve holographs may not be denied their status as valuable evidence in the editorial process: to do so would be to accept an acknowledged non-auctorial condition of the text in favour of one which can, with careful scholarship, be shown to rely upon the demonstrable preferences of an author who clearly cared very much about the exact form of his language.[21] We do not deny the apparent novelty of our methods, but claim that in fact they fall well within the accepted definitions of editorial theory and practice: as suggested several times in this essay, we have simply combined the "classical" Lachmannian orthodoxy in selection of a "base-text" for substantives with a logical extension of the "modern" Gregian orthodoxy in the selection of a "copy-text" for accidentals. The paradox of Thomas Hoccleve is that these two documents, base-text and copy-text, happen to be of different works, but that their combination will result in a final text which is closer to auctorial intentions than the use of either document independently would have brought us.



A version of the computer sections of this article was presented at a conference on "Computer Technology and the Contemporary Scholar—Applications for Research", held at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York in October, 1983. A version of the editorial theory sections was presented at the 1983 meeting of the Medieval Institute of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Much of the information in the article is based on material supplied by Peter P. Farley of Adelphi University, who has been responsible for the computer part of the Hoccleve edition. The article is also dependent on a good deal of very practical advice on both the theory and practice of normalisation offered by scholars in medieval and other fields. These scholars include Fredson Bowers, John Burrow, E. Talbot Donaldson, A. S. G. Edwards, John H. Fisher, W. Speed Hill, David J. Nordloh, M. C. Seymour, and G. Thomas Tanselle. In a series of colloquia, the Hoccleve editors (Charles R. Blyth, Peter P. Farley, Marcia Smith Marzec, Jerome Mitchell, Gale Sigal, and David Yerkes) have made valuable contributions to both the evidence and the theoretical arguments of the article.


G. Thomas Tanselle, "Classical, Biblical, and Medieval Textual Criticism and Modern Editing," Studies in Bibliography, 36 (1983), 21-68. See esp. p. 24, "What has traditionally been called 'textual criticism'—or, more recently, 'textual analysis'—is this attempt to fix the relationship of the surviving documentary witnesses; and though many of the theories of textual criticism have entailed certain assumptions about how the editor's critical text should be constructed, the focus of attention has normally been not on the 'editorial' phase (the actual selection or emendation of readings) but on the prior analysis of the texts that results in the assignment of relationships among them." See also Tanselle's criticism of Dearing's theories of 'textual analysis,' pp. 31-35.


Paul Maas, Textual Criticism, trans. Barbara Flower (1958). See esp. p. 5 for Maas' "ideal" stemma, demonstrating graphically that the evidence of "separative" or "conjunctive" errors would not enable the editor to move further up the genealogy (towards the author's putative fair copy "x") than the stage represented by "α", the archetype created by the comparative data embedded in the hyparchetypes, themselves dependent on the identification of error of one type or another in the extant witnesses.


Piers Plowman: The B Version . . . . An Edition in the Form of Trinity College MS B. 15. 17 . . . ed. George Kane and E. Talbot Donaldson (1975). See esp. Section III (pp. 70-97) for a discussion of archetypal corruption in the B text, a corruption which is, of course, quite predictable according to the orthodox interpretation of Maas' genealogical system.


As has been widely observed (by Kane, Donaldson and their reviewers), the full apparatus of historical collation in the Athlone editions of both the A and B texts is intended in part to allow precisely this re-editing of the text by the critical reader. That is, the degree of license assumed by the editors requires that all of the evidence for reconstruction of the text be made available so that the editorial rationale can be continually tested against the documentary witnesses.


The only possible "authority" in the Regement manuscripts is in the so-called "patronic" versions, the copying of which is very likely to have been overseen by Hoccleve himself. In a forthcoming article on the genealogy of the Regement manuscripts, Marcia Smith Marzec argues that, both on stemmatic evidence and from such extra-textual considerations as the survival of dedicatory verses and the documented patronage of Hoccleve's other works by members of the royal circle, there were probably as many as eight such authoritative copies of the Regement, of which two survive (British Library MS. Arundel 38 and British Library MS. Harley 4866). The second of these two was selected by F. J. Furnivall as copy-text for his 1897 edition of the Regement for the Early English Text Society (Extra Series 72), on no better grounds than its containing "the best portrait of Chaucer" (p. xvii). Furnivall even admits that Harley 4866 displays certain Northern orthographic features which could not represent Hoccleve's London usage, thereby severely qualifying Harley's potential status as "best-text" on the basis of dialect or accidentals—the usual major rationale cited by mediaeval editors (along with the evidence for genealogical authority) in support of a single witness embodying the greatest degree of auctorial intention. The present edition's selection of Arundel 38 as copy-text is supported in part by its genealogical position (it is arguably only one, or at most, two removes from the putative fair copy, and might even be the exemplar, or at least collateral to the exemplar, of Harley 4866), and in part by its orthographic and dialectal features. As is noted in more detail below, the degree of editorial intervention required in the restoration of auctorial "accidence" (see footnote 12) is comparatively slight in the case of Arundel (and certainly much less so than with Harley), and while it might be theoretically possible to restore the substantives of hyparchetypes in other branches of the stemma, these inferred witnesses would not only be genealogically "inferior" to Arundel (i.e., at two or three removes from the fair copy), but would also lack any consistent evidence for the reconstruction of auctorial accidentals, since they would be at best conflated states of the text representing the variants in as many as nineteen or twenty different manuscripts. On both Lachmannian and Gregian terms, therefore, Arundel 38 would stand in a greater position of authority as copy-text than any other extant witness, even if we were not attempting the reconstruction of auctorial accidentals which is the subject of this article. Once normalisation is to be undertaken, the usefulness of Arundel as a vehicle for this procedure becomes unassailable. See, in addition to the Marzec article mentioned above, M. C. Seymour, "The Manuscripts of Hoccleve's Regiment of Princes," Transactions of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society, iv, part 7 (1974), 255-297 for a description of Arundel, Harley, and the other manuscripts, together with a preliminary account of their filiation. See also A. S. G. Edwards, "Hoccleve's Regiment of Princes: A Further Manuscript," Transactions of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society, v, part 1 (1978), 32, and R. F. Green, "Notes on Some Manuscripts of Hoccleve's Regiment of Princes," The British Library Journal, 4, number 1 (Spring 1978), 37-41. Seymour gives a brief account (differing in some minor points from the evidence cited here) in the Commentary (esp. pp. 113-114) to his Selections from Hoccleve (1981).


The fullest account of the status and possible influence of Chancery English occurs in John H. Fisher's article, "Chancery and the Emergence of Standard Written English in the Fifteenth Century," Speculum, 52 (1977), 870-99. The degree to which Hoccleve's idiolect corresponds to the most characteristic features of Chancery English as identified by Fisher is now being investigated by the Hoccleve editors. An interim analysis suggests that, while Hoccleve, as a Londoner, inevitably shares several of the paradigmatic forms which Fisher recognises as belonging to the "proto-Chancery" that would have been in use in the early decades of the fifteenth century, the degree and type of consistency in the concordance generated from the Chancery documents is often of a different nature from that discovered in our analysis of Hoccleve's practice. A fuller report will be published shortly.


For surveys of recent work on the autobiographical element in Hoccleve's verse, see Jerome Mitchell's chapter (pp. 49-63) on Hoccleve in Fifteenth-Century Studies, ed. R. F. Yeager (1984), and D. C. Greetham, "Hoccleve's Development of the Chaucerian Persona," in Chaucer at Albany II: Essays in Honor of R. H. Robbins (forthcoming).


Huntington Library MS. HM 111, Huntington Library MS. HM 744, Durham MS. Cosin V. III. 9, and the "non-literary" (Privy Seal) British Library MS. Add. 24062, which (unfortunately) is almost all in Latin or French. See H. C. Schulz, "Thomas Hoccleve, Scribe," Speculum, 12 (1937), pp. 71-81.


As Jerome Mitchell (Thomas Hoccleve: A Study in Early Fifteenth-Century English Poetic [1968], p. 14n.) remarks, "Hoccleve is the only significant Middle English writer whose works have in large part been preserved in autograph manuscripts." The only other substantial piece of Middle English verse available in an orthography which seems to represent auctorial practice is the notoriously idiosyncratic Ormulum; in Hoccleve's general period, only the possibly holograph text of Chaucer's Equatorie of the Planetis offers a potential parallel to the Hoccleve documents, and the Equatorie is uncharacteristic of Chaucer's oeuvre, being a scientific work in prose. In other mediaeval literatures the situation is a little better, for there are holographs of, e.g., Petrarch and Boccaccio, and William Wallace is to edit the autograph version of Thomas Aquinas' scriptum on the third book of the Sentences of Peter Lombard for the Leonine series. In general, however, it must be accepted that the survival of the Hoccleve holographs is an aberration in textual transmission, and does not in itself suggest that there are great documentary riches yet to be discovered. No doubt if Hoccleve had not been a Privy Seal scribe, his orthography would be as lost to us as that of any of his fellow-poets.


Jerome J. McGann, in his recent A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism (1983), attempts at several points (see esp. pp. 15-36) to draw the Greg-Bowers and Lachmannian dispensations together, particularly with regard to auctorial intention. However, his case depends very largely on proving that post-Greg textual critics have (deliberately?) misread or enlarged upon Greg and does not, I believe, modify the general assumptions about base-text/copy-text which motivate this present article: namely, that the Lachmannian genealogical system has been traditionally seen as a device for identifying the position of a witness in a hierarchy developed from a study of the substantive errors in texts (with comparatively little concern for the accidentals as they might be represented genealogically), whereas the Greg doctrine on copy-text has separated the authority of substantives and accidentals, while regarding both features as a necessary element in the reconstruction of auctorial intention, be it final (for substantives) or original (for accidentals). This is obviously something of a simplification of the distinction between Greg and Lachmann, but that some such distinction is eminent and valid is surely indisputable—at least from a charting of editorial theory in both the "ancient" and "modern" fields.


That is, where a normalisation theory occurs in mediaeval studies, it is associated primarily with the resuscitation of, for example, dialect, not idiolect. Such a normalisation theory might surface in the smoothing of Old English to tenth-century Wessex forms or in the selection of a South-East Midlands manuscript as copy-text on its dialectal features, but since there is virtually no opportunity for the reconstruction of an auctorial idiolect, there is little development of the sort of distinctions (i.e., between substantives and accidentals) which have led to the evolution and dissemination of Greg's theory elsewhere.


I use the term "accidence" in a special sense here and elsewhere in this article— i.e. to refer not to the classification of grammatical forms embodied in an author's "style", but to the entire system of surface features of which grammatical alternatives are but one of the choices presented to an author within the parameters of a particular language at a particular time. Thus, a choice between long and short "s" might be regarded as a purely orthographic component in the system of accidence (although there is some argument as to its possible phonological significance), whereas a choice between, say, "-e" and "-eth" as 3ps present tense inflection, or a predilection for a past participle with the "y-" prefix might have grammatical import (though not "meaning") as well as orthographic. Both types can still, however, be regarded as genuine "surface features" and both are therefore a part of the "accidentals" from which an identifiable system of "accidence" can be derived.


Tanselle, op. cit. passim, e.g., p. 42, "The editor is finally responsible for establishing both substantives and accidentals, and to assume that scribal accidentals are too far removed from the author's practice to be worth preserving is to ignore the connections between accidentals and meaning. One may not in the end accept these accidentals, but the question of what accidentals to include in a critical text must be faced. Authorial accidentals in ancient texts may be more conjectural than in modern texts, but the attempt to approximate them is not necessarily to be rejected in favor of standardized spelling and modernized punctuation." Tanselle's basic argument is stated in his last two sentences (p. 68), "Editing ancient texts and editing modern ones are not simply related fields; they are essentially the same field. The differences between them are in details; the similarities are in fundamentals." It is, of course, this belief which has motivated the Hoccleve edition to make use of both ancient and modern textual practices in the editing of the Regement.


See Tanselle op. cit., p. 48 and fn. 33 for an account of the argument between Greg and Maas over copy-text. See A. E. Housman, Selected Prose, ed. John Carter (1961), p. 35-36 on the concept of "best" MSS, p. 59 on "the authority of a MS. against the exercise of the judgment," and p. 141 on "sincere" MSS.


Bowers' views on the Hoccleve problem are, of course, similar to those expressed in his published writings. See, for example, the "doctrine" that a "definitive edition . . . in its texture of accidentals, as well as in its words, [should] conform to the closest approximation to the author's own linguistic and orthographic characteristics that can be recovered." (Textual and Literary Criticism [1959], p. 141).


The well-attested forms in HOCCLEX parallel exactly the same forms in the copy-text. In practice, this level accounts for, perhaps, 50% of all cases in the normalisation procedures, thereby confirming Arundel's status as copy-text on Gregian criteria as well as its function as base text on "classical" principles.


While copy-text might occasionally use a variant form, it clearly prefers the same form that is consistently used in HOCCLEX.


Copy-text does show the form used in HOCCLEX, but as an "indifferent" variant, in comparison to the consistent usage in HOCCLEX.


While copy-text clearly prefers a form other than that in HOCCLEX, the holograph usage is still absolutely invariable.


Even where the form does not exist in copy-text, the holograph preference is unambiguous. Usually, of course, the HOCCLEX form would therefore not occur in the edited text at all, except perhaps in circumstances where the scribal inflection seemed an error (e.g., in number, agreement etc.), when the form derived from HOCCLEX would take precedence.


Note that the required "level" of evidentiary support in HOCCLEX is higher than in the corresponding entry for copy-text (line 2 of model). This reflects the editorial desire to represent auctorial (as opposed to scribal) choice with greater surety, and, in general, not to admit HOCCLEX (or NORMLEX) forms as paradigms unless there is either a clear "blank entry" in the copy-text data or a statistically and morphologically well-attested norm in the great majority of auctorial or auctorially-derived forms.


Given the general assumptions (regarding auctorial and scribal usage) under which the normalisation model is constructed, this level should be very rare (and in fact turns out to be so), but could contain occasional anomalies. If one were using orthodox base-text theory (or copy-text theory in its usual restriction to the features of a single text), then the 100% usage form in copy-text would clearly support an unambiguous preference, albeit scribal, or at least not demonstrably auctorial. If the copy-text form is therefore highly atypical as measured against the HOCCLEX extant patterns (say, less than a 25% concurrence with HOCCLEX), then great care would obviously be needed in establishing preferred auctorial usage. Thus, although this level, particularly towards the lower statistical end just cited, occurs infrequently in the normalisation (perhaps once every 500 lines), it is by far the most problematical. Note, furthermore, that we had originally employed the same series of discriminations for HOCCLEX (high, indifferent, low) in this category as in levels 2-4 and 9-11 for copy-text. However. given our general principle that a demonstrable consistency of usage in HOCCLEX is necessary for normalisation of copy-text to proceed, anything under a 90% usage (particularly as measured in this category against a 100% usage in copy-text) seemed possibly suspect and might therefore lead to a selection of copy-text over HOCCLEX, as the model indicates. Therefore, a single category representing this level of indeterminacy, rare though it be, is a more honest response to the statistical conditions than a three-tier break-down would be.


While the required form does not exist in the holographs, it would be easy to create it by morphological extension. This required form corresponds exactly with the form in copy-text, and would merely confirm a conservative reading of copy-text by reference to NORMLEX.


Copy-text preference would again confirm the form created by morphological extension in NORMLEX. Since this form is at least derivable from auctorial usage in HOCCLEX and supported by the majority readings in copy-text, its consistency would be employed throughout the normalisation of the copy-text variants.


An indifferent variant in copy-text, but with the NORMLEX form established as a consistent and unambiguous derivative from HOCCLEX.


A logical extension of the previous two levels, where despite the statistical evidence of the copy-text, a minority form in the copy-text would be preferred since it would be derivable unambiguously from NORMLEX (and therefore from HOCCLEX). Note that the "presumptive authority" of copy-text would be employed, not in cases like levels 9-11 (where the authority of the consistent external evidence— i.e., NORMLEX—is paramount), but in cases where the "indifference" of the copy-text scribe would be matched by a similar (in incidence, if not always in exact type) indifference in HOCCLEX.


The normalised form is not extant in the copy-text (the scribe presumably preferring other variants of the same basic word) or in HOCCLEX (presumably because of the lack of concurrence of the two lexicons). The form could, however, be fully supported by NORMLEX in evidence drawn from related forms in HOCCLEX. This is therefore a level which logically proceeds quite straightforwardly from the previous three, where the normalised form was gradually having its statistical base in copy-text reduced. Note that, while the statistical base might appear to have vanished, in fact this could conceal a very high level of authority for morphological extension. As suggested above, this level could describe cases where a particular word happens not to occur in the holographs (and therefore does not turn up in the HOCCLEX column), but does occur in the copy-text, in, however, a form recognisably different from the clear auctorial preference that could be established in NORMLEX if the word had been used in the holographs. Say, for example, Hoccleve had happened not to use the word (ModE) though in the holographs, but it did show in the copy-text. We can establish from HOCCLEX that a) he never used a 'yogh' and that b) he never used a 'þ' except in the contracted form þtat, (ModE that), and that therefore a copy-text form of þouyogh would be an impossibility in HOCCLEX. The normalised form, based on 100% usage patterns in HOCCLEX, would be perhaps though or thogh. Thus the form (if it represented a choice between an initial 'þ' and 'th', or a final 'yogh' and 'gh') could merit the 100% level in NORMLEX, while not occurring in HOCCLEX or copy-text in the form created by NORMLEX and used in the edited text.


This would cover very few cases, and would be most prominent in nonce-words, often proper nouns, which for obvious reasons would often not be replicated in HOCCLEX. The 100% in the copy-text column, therefore, would often represent in actual incidence a very small number, usually a single occurrence—for the scribe of Arundel, while closer to Hoccleve's usage than the other copyists, does not share his author's passion for orthodoxy in orthography to the same degree.


Again, a very rare level, where NORMLEX would not be capable of creating a consistent reliable form by morphological extension, but, on the contrary, several forms which would mirror the apparent indifference in HOCCLEX. In such cases, we would invoke the principle of copy-text as residual authority, as long as the forms showing in copy-text reflected putative auctorial choices. If the type, but not ratio (or incidence) of indifferent forms in copy-text were dissimilar to those in HOCCLEX and NORMLEX, then presumably the use of these latter forms would have to be considered. However, since this does not seem to appear in the editing of the Regement, the case is included here only as a logical completion of the statistical types cited, and an additional testament to the conservative principles upon which the normalisation proceeds.


See Robert L. Oakman, Computer Methods of Literary Research (rev. 1984), pp. 70-75 for an account of the KWIC and KWOC formats.


It should be emphasised that this reverse lexicon, even though it is used for charting suffix forms, is different in format and purpose from the sort of suffix-removal or lemmatisation programs described, for example, in Susan Hockey's A Guide to Computer Applications in the Humanities (1980), pp. 101-106. See also Oakman, pp. 80-81, 92-96 for references to other types of automatic lemmatisation and normalisation, including BIBCON, which can alphabetise variant spellings in Middle English under the appropriate modern form. See Oakman pp. 76-77 for a brief account of genuine reverse lexicons (or unfortunate lack of them) in other fields.


The final "-e" in wole could, of course, have metrical, as opposed to purely orthographic value. Judith Jefferson of the University of Bristol is making a metrical analysis of the Hoccleve holographs (dealing with such questions as the use of pronounced final "-e" and of variant spellings for metrical purposes). The results of this study will obviously be of great help in establishing the degree to which copy-text use of final "-e" represents a likely auctorial preference and could therefore have significant impact upon the metrical features of the Hoccleve edition.


The 7 in the text here is one of the numerical codes used to represent various scribal features not available on the conventional keyboard. The codes occurring here include 1 =semiinv. 2 = long "s" ("longs"); 3 = "re"; 4 = the supralinear flourish indicating an omitted "r"; 5 = "þ"; 6 = the macron signalling a following nasal; and 7 = the final flourish transcribed as "-e". (* = a supralinear "t"). Thus, "5 *" = þt .


H 1 x honured, 1 x honurid, 5 x honure, 3 x honurable, 13 x honur, 20 x honour


H 4 x rekken, o x -þ


v. fn. 1


See Tanselle, op. cit., p. 43, "Since accidentals can affect meaning and scribal practices in accidentals can constitute important textual evidence, a complete recording of such details, as well as of substantive variants, would seem to be desirable."


It remains to be seen what the possible effect on criticism might be of this demonstration that Hoccleve was no artless or careless poetaster, but on the contrary, one who was deeply concerned about his poetic language.