Marginalia and Annotation in Victoria, McPherson Library, MS.Eng.1




Blackall, Alanna

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Victoria, McPherson Library MS Eng.1, a late fifteenth-century copy of John Lydgate’s The Fall of Princes, is one of few complete medieval manuscripts housed at UVic; it is our only Middle English manuscript. In 1978, Anthony Edwards assessed it in the journal Manuscripta and claimed, “the Victoria [Lydgate] manuscript is unlikely to be a text of great significance to students.” This project openly challenges Edward’s appraisal through study of the manuscript and its poem, with special focus on its marginalia. The Victoria Lydgate is a valuable resource, and its marginalia in particular opens multiple avenues of research on medieval and early modern readership and book ownership. Although the main text is Middle English, the marginalia is trilingual—Middle English, Latin, and French—and it consists of structural markings (e.g., section labels or titles not introduced by the original scribe), scribal notations and corrections, an early modern signature (“Wyllham Fermer”), and commentary on the text. The main goal of this project was to transcribe and catalogue all of the marginalia; from there, commonalities and reoccurrences in annotation and marginalia were collated and examined. This project examines medieval female readership as well as medieval and early modern reader-text interaction within the context of Victoria, McPherson Library, MS.Eng1.



Fall of Princes, Middle English, marginalia, annotation, John Lydgate, Victoria, McPherson Library, MS.Eng.1, female readership