Two University of Chicago Humanists and a Landmark Edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Lecture by Christina von Nolcken
Given at the University of Chicago Library Society at the Quadrangle Club on October 13, 2010
In 1940 professor John Manly (d.1940), who long headed the University of Chicago’s Department of English, and his colleague, Professor Edith Rickert (d. 1938), published their eight-volume edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Partly thanks to their experience as code-breakers in World War I, theirs was the first edition to take account of all 83 medieval witnesses to parts or the whole of the Tales. Yet it is only recently that this edition has begun to come properly into its own. Working with the extensive Manly-Rickert archive housed in Regenstein Library, Professor von Nolcken will consider the nature and importance of the edition, as well as the very considerable financial and personal challenges experienced by its editors. The work marks a distinguished humanistic moment in the history of the University of Chicago.