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The Canon of John Lydgate Project

The Lives of Ss. Edmund and Fremund: Introduction

The Other Manuscripts of Lydgate's Poem
Seymour lists the extant manuscripts of Lydgate's Lives of Ss. Edmund and Fremund (p. 12):
The scribal transmission of the work shows two main lines of development alongside two independently derived fair copies:
In each of these sub-divisions the manuscripts derive independently from a lost common ancestor, and no manuscript shows signs of conflation except (perhaps) the Chetham MS.

All manuscripts of sub-group A were written in Suffolk or copied from exemplars written there after 1460 and give a slightly revised text, perhaps (but not certainly) by Lydgate himself. These manuscripts, with others of the same style (MSS. Sloane 2464, Harley 1766, Harley 2255, Huntington HM 268, and perhaps Laud 683) may be the products of one group or shop specializing in Lydgate's works. Further, the four manuscripts of sub-group A (ii) derive from an exemplar written c. 1461 and contain as an additional item the Miracles of St. Edmund which concern events of the years 1441 and 1444.

The Exeter fragment [1 bifolium] and the transcriptions in MS. Ashmole 59 ff. 22v-24v by Shirley (d. 1456) and in MSS. Harley 247 and 367 by Stow (d. 1605) derive from different exemplars which are not any of those extant.

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The Canon of John Lydgate Project

© 1995 Stephen R. Reimer
English; University of Alberta; Edmonton, Canada
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Last revised: 9 Nov. 1995

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