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The Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile
Demonstration of the CD-ROM; Online sample
Fixes to reported problems; run it from your hard disc.
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Runs on any recent Windows or Macintosh computer with CD-ROM drive. See further Hengwrt CD-ROM sales.
 

Our first publication is the Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile, edited by Estelle Stubbs of the University of Sheffield, in association with the Canterbury Tales Project. This is the first-ever full colour facsimile of the Hengwrt Chaucer manuscript (National Library of Wales Peniarth 392 D), one of the most important of all English literary manuscripts. We believe that the quality of the digital photography for this facsimile, carried out by the National Library of Wales, sets a new standard for manuscript photography. This CD-ROM joins these images to the transcriptions of the text, collations with the other crucial early manuscript of the Tales(the Ellesmere Chaucer, in the Huntington Library), complete descriptions and analytical discussions to give a full set of materials for studying this important manuscript.
During the long preparation of this CD-ROM, Estelle Stubbs discovered evidence that Chaucer may himself have supervised part of the preparation of both the Hengwrt and Ellesmere manuscripts. Further, it appears from the manuscript that we have been giving Chaucer's work the wrong name. The Hengwrt Chaucer carries the title 'Here begynneth the book of the tales of Canterbury', and the Ellesmere manuscript confirms this title. It appears that Chaucer himself may have intended this as the title. We should speak of the 'The Book of the Tales of Canterbury' or 'The Tales of Canterbury', not 'The Canterbury Tales'!
 
There is a demonstration of the CD-ROM on this site: this is actually the help file from the CD-ROM itself. Below are two images from the CD-ROM.
 
The Research Edition of the Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile was published on 25 October 2000, to coincide with the 600th anniversary of Chaucer's death. It costs 82 UK for individual buyers (including VAT, + 5 for post and packing). Libraries and institutions pay 175 UK. You can order it from here.
 
Here are two images from the CD-ROM. This first image shows a 'image view' of the first page of the manuscript. Note the hypertext links in the right hand window, taking you to the text, collation, and other information about the CD-ROM:
 
 
The second image shows you part of the 'collation view' of this first page: that is, the comparison between the Hengwrt and Ellesmere texts. You could have come to this screen by clicking on 'Collation' in the right of the first screen; or you could have come here by choosing 'Collation' from the menu in the navigation bar at the top and clicking on the Go to… button. From here, you could use the hypertext links at the top of the page to move back to the image, to move to the image and text view, or to see only the text, or to see the quire containing this text, or see the opening of the manuscript containing it, or the leaf containing this text together with its 'conjugate': that is, the other half of the sheet of vellum. (When you look at a manuscript page, you are usually looking at one half of a single sheet of vellum, or a single 'bifolium'. The other half of the leaf is known as the 'conjugate' or the 'gemel' [twin] of the leaf).
 

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