Dane 1998

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Dane, Joseph A. Who is Buried in Chaucer's Tomb? Studies in the Reception of Chaucer's Book. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1998.

"Chaucer's text is reproducible exactly; it can be quoted, edited, even modified in support of critical readings. The Chaucer book, by contrast, is never reproducible exactly, whether it is considered a manuscript, a printed book, or a group of book-copies of either kind. Chaucer manuscripts are unique and (except under the extreme pressures of textual criticism) they are generally treated as such." (1)
"The difference between the consensus of twentieth-century and early eighteenth-century scholars reflects the difference in their respective foundations. What has happened is not a correction of an earlier consensus, but a redefinition of what constitutes evidence: new descriptions of physical books, modern facsimiles, and modern editions." (4)

problem of describing "issues" and "variants" -- no certain way to describe an ideal copy, according to standards set by STC; book trade mediates this task by wanting to create a market for collectors, and also by making up copies (from fragments) that never historically existed but that now do

"Pollard and Redgrave were primarily concerned with cataloguing books as a function of their production, and their classifications attempt to circumvent the notion of such made-up copies-that is, the real physical copies that exist. As such bibliographical descriptions become more precise, their objects are dematerialized." (7)
"Textually, no two copies are likely to be the same. And even on such basic matters as paper, no two copies I have examined show the same use and distribution of various paper stocks-a situation that is typical of books of this and earlier periods. Their natures are determined by accidents at press, corrections at press, and the chance of collation. When one has two copies in hand, one can speak of the material existence of each during the present, but to project that material presence into the past and to write a history of that presence very quickly devolves into pure speculation." (7-8)

Who is buried in Chaucer's tomb?

Who wrote Chaucer's works?

"Thynne's preface is enmeshed in a tradition of what might be called "prefatorial authorship"-a tradition that for Chaucer began with prefaces by Caxton. In this tradition, an authorial signature does not necessarily mean authorial composition." (43)

Toward a typographical history of Chaucer: the blackletter Chaucer

"In its own evolution and in the often naive classifications that are applied to type, we can see Chaucer first defined as a canonical author, and later transformed into a medieval author and finally a classical one." (51)