John Trevisa and the English and Continental Traditions of De proprietatibus rerum
Lidaka, Juris G.
Essays in Medieval Studies, vol. 5 (1988)
The first two Volumes of Trevisa’s translation of Bartholomaeus Anglicus’ encyclopedia used 2 Latin texts as controls for editing the Middle English text–MS Bodley 749 and the Vatican copy of a text printed in 1485 by Georg Husner of Strasbourg. The textual commentary uses some 18 Latin MSS to consider what Latin Trevisa may have actually had before him.1 Just how much, though, has been studied? The Latin text was not edited, but several studies of different portions were made: M. C. Seymour, the general editor, collated the first 5 folios of each book; Ralph Hanna studied Book V; Susan Clinton’s work on Book X is separately available as her doctoral thesis, and Traugott Lawler did Book XI. The average folio of the English MSS provides for just under six pages in the printed text, so five folios means just under thirty pages. There are 1,396 pages; taking away Books V, X, and XI and the first thirty pages of each other Book leaves 715 pages not included in the survey of Latin MSS for the textual commentary. That accounts for just under half the text, then, but favors the first Volume: the three Books studied are all there, it contains thirteen Books to the second’s six, and the unsurveyed material in the second Volume is nearly three quarters of all unsurveyed material.