The Findern Manuscript

BookThe Findern Manuscript

The Findern Manuscript

A New Edition of the Unique Poems

Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies


October 20th, 2020

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The Findern Manuscript (Cambridge University Library, Ff.1.6): A New Edition of the Unique Poems is the first critical edition of the thirty-four unique and unattributed Middle English poems contained in Cambridge, University Library MS Ff.1.6. This collection of unique poems is significant for its size and thematic coherence, and for the insight it provides into regional literary culture, that of south Derbyshire, in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The poems, mainly short lyric texts, but also the narrative poem, The Parliament of Love, two topical complaints, and a romance known as the ‘Alexander-Cassamus Fragment’, are significant for the evidence they provide for creative responses to the metropolitan literature of previous generations, especially to the works of Chaucer, Gower, Hoccleve and Lydgate. The poems explore a range of amatory, religious and philosophical themes in a variety of lyric forms and genres. Their anonymity and experimentation with lyric voice and style make them an important site for exploring the contribution of women, as well as men, to late medieval regional literary culture.

Author Information

Joanna Martin is Associate Professor of Middle English and Older Scots, School of English, University of Nottingham. Her previous books include (with Emily Wingfield) Pre-Modern Scotland, Literature and Governance, 1420-1587 (Oxford University Press, 2017) and The Maitland Quarto Manuscript: A New Edition of Cambridge, Magdalene College, Pepys Library MS 1408 (Boydell and Brewer, 2015).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
The Findern Manuscript9
The manuscript and its compilation13
The unique texts and their contexts15
Quire N and Poem 1720
Interpretation and critical traditions: Voice and gender in the Findern poems25
Poem 33: The Alexander-Cassamus Fragment and the Findern Manuscript36
Previous editions of the Findern poems41
The present edition46
The language of the Findern scribes48
[Poems 1–34]57
Commentary on the poems125
Appendix: Scribes217
Index of first lines229