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Filologia Germanica – Germanic Philology





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Associazione Italiana di Filologia Germanica


In Germanic alliterative verse the fundamental unit of meter and rhythm is the half-line. Editions of older Germanic alliterative poems now usually record this feature in their typographic design: the poetry is lineated and coordinate half-lines are separated with whitespace. For Middle English alliterative poems, the usual presentation has been in undivided long lines, but several recent editions separate half-lines with whitespace or punctuation-marks. The present essay examines the half-line divisions in John Burrow and Thorlac Turville-Petre’s Piers Plowman B (2014/2018) and Ad Putter and Myra Stokes’s Cleanness, Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2014). Burrow and Turville-Petre aim to reconstruct the metrical markings of the archetypal scribe, whereas Putter and Stokes divide on the basis of their understanding of meter. I offer corrections to both editions, beginning with several lines in which Burrow and Turville-Petre misreport evidence for scribal notation of verse structure. In the edition by Putter and Stokes I find no misdivisions in Cleanness or Patience, but several errors and difficult cases in Gawain. I propose new emendations to Gawain 1281 and 1884.


Author Posting © The Author, 2023. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the Associazione Italiana di Filologia Germanica for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Filologia Germanica - Germanic Philology, Volume 15, 2023.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.