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"Models for the Textual Transmission of Translation: The Case of John Trevisa," Studies in Bibliography 37 (1984): 131-155. An early version of the present paper was read at the Fifth International New Chaucer Society Congress in Philadelphia in March, 1986.


Boethius (rpt. 1974), p. 226.


For instance, Skeat regarded "as improbable and unnecessary, a suggestion sometimes made, that Chaucer may have consulted some French version in the hope of obtaining assistance from it." See The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 2nd ed. (1900), vol. 2, p. xiv.


Liddell first demonstrated Chaucer's debt to the French in "Chaucer's Translation of Boece's 'Boke of Comfort,'" Academy, no. 1220 (Sept. 21, 1895), p. 227. At the time Liddell


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wrote this article, the French version he used was not yet recognized as the work of Jean de Meung.


For a summary of the critical work on Chaucer's Latin and French texts, see Traugott Lawler, "Chaucer," in Middle English, ed. A. S. G. Edwards (1984), pp. 300-301. On Chaucer's use of Trevet's commentary and the Remigian glosses, see A. J. Minnis, "Aspects of the Medieval French and English Traditions of Boethius' De consolatione philosophiae", in Boethius: His Life, Thought, and Influence, ed. M. T. Gibson (1981), pp. 312-361; and "'Glossing is a glorious thing'; Chaucer at Work on the Boece", in The Medieval Boethius: Studies in the Vernacular Translations of 'De Consolatione Philosophiae,' ed. A. J. Minnis (Boydell and Brewer, forthcoming). For a complete discussion of all of Chaucer's sources, see "The Sources of the Boece," in The Boece. A Variorum Edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Vol. 6, The Prose Treatises, eds. Tim William Machan and A. J. Minnis (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, forthcoming).


All quotations from and line references to the Boece are from Skeat's edition. The Latin text I cite is Ludovicus Bieler, Philosophiae Consolatio, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina XCIV (Turnholtus: Typographi Brepols, 1957). The French text is V. L. Dedeck-Héry, "Boethius' De Consolatione by Jean de Meun," Mediaeval Studies 14 (1952): 165-275.


For more discussion of these points, see Machan, Techniques of Translation: Chaucer's 'Boece' (1985), pp. 125-131; and "Textual Affiliations," in The Boece.


The text cited is F. N. Robinson, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 2nd ed. (1957). On Chaucer's sense of himself as an author and authorship in general in the Middle Ages, see A. J. Minnis, Medieval Theory of Authorship (1984).


See further "Textual Affiliations" in The Boece.


The Kentish forms, which Skeat and Robinson regularize, begin in Meter Two and continue through Prose Six. These forms include z for initial s ("zelde," 2p3.59) and, in C. U. L. MS Ii.3.21 and related manuscripts, the collapse of the mid and high front vowels to a sound represented by the graph e ("leveth," 2p4.19, for "lyveth"). That these readings in fact go back to the archetype is further indicated by the corrupt forms in some of the surviving manuscripts. For example, for "zelde" at 2p3.59 two manuscripts read "yelde," a reading due to the similarity of z and 3. See further "Textual Affiliations" in The Boece.


See Machan, "Glosses in the Manuscripts of Chaucer's Boece," in The Medieval Boethius.


To some extent, this inconsistency may derive from Chaucer's apparent desire to experiment with language in the Boece; see Techniques of Translation, pp. 114-117 and 126-127. In a typical problem involving the particle words, all the variants are acceptable Middle English, with some of them matching the Latin and others matching the French. Anne Hudson has noted a similar variant diversity among the particle words in the Wycliffite sermons. See English Wycliffite Sermons (1983), vol. 1, p. 149.


Cf. Hudson's discussion of the Wycliffite scribes' improvement of their text through consultation of the Vulgate (pp. 159-161). Noting that "great importance was attached within the tradition to the ipissima verba of scripture," she maintains that it "seems reasonable to assume that when one variant provides an accurate and literal rendering, whilst another offers a more rough and ready version, the former is to be preferred" (pp. 159-160).


For full discussion of these points see "Textual Affiliations" and "The Present Edition" in The Boece. For discussions of how modern editorial methods can misrepresent how a medieval work existed, see David F. Hult, "Lancelot's Two Steps: A Problem in Textual Criticism," Speculum 61 (1986): 836-858; and Machan, "Scribal Role, Authorial Intention, and Chaucer's Boece," (forthcoming, Chaucer Review).