The Middle English Manuscripts and Early Readers of Ancrene Wisse
A Companion to the Ancrene Wisse, D.S. Brewer (2003)
Allerelle Wisse possibly circulated for a longer period than any other Middle English prose work. It was copied, in whole or in part, from the mid-thirteenth to the early seventeenth centuries and addressed to a range of audiences far more diverse than that for which it was initially intended. It is the manuscripts and the different forms of the text that they contain that provide that bases for our understanding of these processes of transmission. In what follows I will briefly discuss the distinctive features of each of the manuscripts which contains Ancrene Wisse and examine the more obvious early evidence of its reception.