STEMMATICS

Under construction

The study of textual relationships we call stemmatics or stemmatology originated in the work of Karl Lachmann. The idea, however, goes as far back as Erasmus. Lachmann was the first to propose this method as a systematic approach to the study of texts.

This is a picture of a stemma codicum by Carl Johan Schlyter, published in 1827 and identified by Sebastiano Timpanaro.

For the Canterbury Tales Project's publication, Bordalejo and Robinson produce stemmata with the help of bioinformatics software. They use mostly discrete methods, particularly Maximum Parsimony and David Swofford's PAUP.

On this page, we list articles by our team that deal with stemmatics. 

 

ARTICLES ON STEMMATOLOGY

This section is under construction. You can also visit the Canterbury Tales Project Zenodo repository, where we share pre-prints as well as published articles, conference papers and project-related data. 

Bordalejo, forthcoming.

This article describes computer-assisted methods for the analysis of textual variation within large textual traditions. It focuses on the conversion of the XML apparatus into NEXUS, a file type commonly used in bioinformatics.
Phylogenetics methods are described with particular emphasis on maximum parsimony, the preferred approach for our research. The article provides details on the reasons for favouring maximum parsimony, as well as explaining our choice of settings for PAUP. It gives examples of how to use VBase, our variant database, to query the data and gain a better understanding of the phylogenetic trees. The relationship between the apparatus and the stemma explained.
After demonstrating the vast number of decisions taken during the analysis, the article concludes that as much as computers facilitate our work and help us expand our understanding, the role of the editor continues to be fundamental in the making of editions.

ANALYZING THE ORDER OF ITEMS IN MANUSCRIPTS OF THE CANTERBURY TALES.

Spencer et al., 2003

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales consists of loosely-connected stories, appearing in many different orders in extant manuscripts. Differences in order result from rearrangements by scribes during copying, and may reveal relationships among manuscripts. Identifying these relationships is analogous to determining evolutionary relationships among organisms from the order of genes on a genome. We use gene order analysis to construct a stemma for the Canterbury Tales. This stemma shows relationships predicted by earlier scholars, reveals new relationships, and shares features with a word variation stemma. Our results support the idea that there was no established order when the first manuscripts were written.

Robinson 1997

The first published analysis of a section of the Tales using the methods pioneered by the Project. This article presents the results of a stemmatic analyis of the fifty-eight fifteenth-century witnesses to the Wife of Bath’s Prologue.  This analysis is based on the transcripts and collations of these witnesses published on Robinson's CD-ROM of The Wife of Bath’s Prologue (Cambridge UP 1996),

Robinson and O'Hara, 1993

Reviews the use made of computer-assisted stemmatic methods by the Canterbury Tales project from 1990 to 1993. The project uses two methods: phylogenetic analysis (here called "Cladistic analysis"), using Swofford's PAUP program, and database analysis, using an early form of the VBase program, still in use by the Project (as is too PAUP) in 2020.

 

ARTICLES

This section is under construction. You can also visit the Canterbury Tales Project Zenodo repository, where we share pre-prints as well as published articles, conference papers and project-related data. 

ANALYZING THE ORDER OF ITEMS IN MANUSCRIPTS OF THE CANTERBURY TALES.

Spencer et al., 2003

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales consists of loosely-connected stories, appearing in many different orders in extant manuscripts. Differences in order result from rearrangements by scribes during copying, and may reveal relationships among manuscripts. Identifying these relationships is analogous to determining evolutionary relationships among organisms from the order of genes on a genome. We use gene order analysis to construct a stemma for the Canterbury Tales. Thisstemma shows relationships predicted by earlier scholars, reveals new relationships, and shares features with a word variation stemma. Our results support the idea that there was no established order when the first manuscripts were written.

Robinson 1997

The first published analysis of a section of the Tales using the methods pioneered by the Project. This article presents the results of a stemmatic analyis of the fifty-eight fifteenth-century witnesses to the Wife of Bath’s Prologue.  This analysis is based on the transcripts and collations of these witnesses published on Robinson's CD-ROM of The Wife of Bath’s Prologue (Cambridge UP 1996),

Robinson and O'Hara, 1993

Reviews the use made of computer-assisted stemmatic methods by the Canterbury Tales project from 1990 to 1993. The project uses two methods: phylogenetic analysis (here called "Cladistic analysis"), using Swofford's PAUP program, and database analysis, using an early form of the VBase program, still in use by the Project (as is too PAUP) in 2020.

Robinson and Solopova, 1993

This article, affectionally known as the "Guidelines," has been fundamental for the Project. We no longer use this is as a transcription guide (our approach has changed both ideologically and technically). Despite that, the arguments put forward are central to our understanding of transcription and it continues to be one of the most cited articles on that matter.

 

©2020 by Canterbury Tales Project. Image credit Geoffrey Chaucer (-1400), Canterbury tales, between 1400 and 1410. EL 26 C 9. The Huntington Library. Created with Wix.com