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Manuscript Description
USA, Chicago, IL, Newberry Library MS f.33.5
Title:Confessio Amantis
Contents:Confessio Amantis begins imperfectly at Book I, line 3305 (beginning of the third quire of this MS, so two quires missing from beginning).
Language:English and Latin
Date Range:1475-1500
Scribal Hands:
Examples of the hand. Click on the link above for full details and images of individual letter forms.

Dialect:County SW Mids, possibly Warwicks/Worcs
No of Folios:3 new-ish paper + 110 parchment + 3 newish paper
Pagination:Modern pencil upper outer corners, 1-92, 92b, 93-110. Four folios missing after f73 (Book VI, lines 264-1306); ff71-2 should follow f66; f103 should follow f106.
Quiring:8s; first two quires missing; quires 3-108, Saenger notes after that quiring disturbed by rebinding and collation 'impracticable'.
Signatures:Quires are numbered by scribe in lower margin of first leaf of each quire, beginning 'iiije' on f8, 've on f15, etc., written below first column but near right edge of that framed column; last is 'xvije' on f104.
Catchwords:None; quires numbered by scribe.
Page Size:340 x 280
Frame:4 x vertical for two columns text, 2 x horizontal at minim height of top line and below bottom line, not ruled, no pricking, fine grey lines.
Writing Space:300 x 145 in two columns
Incipits and Explicits:Usual Gower ending; first quires missing; flyleaf title 18th century, first paper flyleaf, 'Johannes Gower De Confessio Amantis obiit 1404' [sic]
Marginal Headings:By scribe in slightly larger script, though not more formal than used for text, preceded by red paraph and underlined in red, eg f1va '[paraph] Explicit liber primus [paraph] Incipit liber secundus'. Red underlining for all Latin portions of text, red over-writing of sleigh under names of speakers 'Amans' or 'Confessor
ascenders on almost every page are extended and looped, some with attempts at scrolls on the ascender.
Running Titles:Red paraph before running titles.
Paragraph Marks:Red paraph marks at each change of speaker (usually marginal glosses to name 'Amans' or 'Confessor' also), larger red paraphs before explicits and incipits; red paraph before running titles.
Flourished Initials:Beginning missing so may have been more at beginning, but initials for each book and for lesser breaks within books are all alternating 2-line red and blue initials, plain without flourishing.
Other Names (not owners):On f110r pentrials including, 'Item of Thomas Fleyn' [Saenger has 'Flynn
might be Slauyn, very faint], 'Per me Thomas Gouldsmyth the Young' [Saenger has 'Goldsmyth',but does not account for number of letters, also very faint], mid-15th c; f109v signature 'John Willing' (18th century).
Miscellaneous Info:Saenger dates mid-15th century based on script and dialect (?); secretary script is unmixed with anglicana. Level of variability suggests not professional text-writer.
Further Information:Saenger catalogue, p. 61. J. H. Fisher, John Gower, Moral Philosopher and Friend of Chaucer (NY, 1959), classifies as 'First version unrevised' (p. 305, Appendix A, MS 25, listed as Castle Howard MS). See also Macaulay, Complete Works of John Gower, p. cli.
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP