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CAMPSEY Project Overview

Anglo-Norman Hagiography and the Campsey Collection

Introduction to the Campsey Manuscript

The Campsey collection of saints' lives, manuscript London, British Library Additional 70513, is the only known medieval collection of rhymed saints' lives in French. It was written in England; the major part of the manuscript (fols. 9-267, containing 10 saints' lives) is dated to the last quarter of the 13 century;the first quire (fols. 1-8, containing 3 short saints' lives by Nicole Bozon) was added later to the manuscript book, and is dated to the early 14th century. The manuscript was owned by the female Augustinian convent at Campsey, in Suffolk, in the 14th century, where it was used for meal-time reading.

For detailed discussion of the manuscript see Delbert Russell, “The Campsey Collection of Old French Saints' Lives: A Re-examination of its Structure and Provenance,” Scriptorium LVII (2003): 51-83; Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, Saints' Lives and Women's Literary Culture c. 1150-1300. Virginity and its Authorizations, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

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Project Objectives: Phase 1

Complete Manuscript Available Electronically

The objective of Phase 1 is to make all the lives of the Campsey manuscript available in searchable electronic form, allowing the comparative study of the texts, including from the point of view of scribal practices.

Faithful Representation of Scribal Practices Across the Corpus

Elements of scribal practice have been recorded by the use of tags: for example, all letters subject to normalization, which in critical editions tend to be silently normalized, have been tagged, as have all expansions of abbreviations.

Comparative Study of Scribal Choice of Freely Available Variants

The study of the comparative frequencies of the use of abbreviations, or the relative frequencies of the use of letters which seem to be freely interchangeable, such as u or v, or the choice of the form for the conjunction e or et, are some of the ways in which consistent scribal practices can be determined within works and across the corpus of the Campsey collection.

Easy Tracking of Words and Syntax Across Corpus

The electronic form of the text allows one to easily trace the use of given terms or syntactic strutures, and to study the scribal variations in spelling across all the lives in the corpus.

Currently Unanswered Questions

Using the electronic text it is possible to find answers to a number of questions about this important unique medieval collection of saints' lives: to what extent has the language of the 12th-century lives been modernized (or not) by the late 13th-century scribe? Are vagaries in scribal practices discernible? What is the relationship between spelling and language performance?

Comparison with Scribal Practices in other MSS

All such analysis of scribal habits in the Campsey manuscript can be checked against scribal habits found in copies of these lives from other manuscript sources, and against the electronic version of another late 13th-century French life written in England, the Vie de seint Clement.  The study of the Campsey lives found in other manuscripts will help determine to what extent the scribe of Campsey may have been influenced by his or her exemplar, while the comparison with the Vie de seint Clement offers a useful control text more removed from the possible intertextual relationships of the medieval Campsey anthology.

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Beta Version of Electronic Campsey

This version of Electronic Campsey is preliminary: it currently includes the 13 Campsey lives, the primary focus of the project. In addition, the corpus includes the following copies of the Campsey lives which are also found in other manuscripts: Elizabeth (1 copy), Mary Magdalene (1 copy), Edward the Confessor (2 copies and the prose version), Modwena (1 copy), Catherine (2 copies). The addition of other manuscript versions of Thomas Becket (5 copies) is in progress.

Capturing the Text Electronically

The text has been entered manually by research assistants working from microfilm copies. The electronic text has been checked once by a second reader. Consequently the level of accuracy of the capture of the text and the tagging remains at the Beta level, and will have a higher level of accuracy in the next phase of the project.

Level of Tagging

The current state of the electronic data is designed to permit detailed study of the scribal presence in the Campsey manuscript. All letters subject to normalization, and all expansions of abbreviations have been tagged, as well as all scribal changes and alterations. For those texts where a standard print edition exits, the line numbering of the electronic text corresponds to the numbering in the print editions: where extra lines are found in a manuscript copy they are numbered as extra lines (e.g. two extra lines between 12 and 13 would be numbered in the sequence 12, 12a, 12b, 13), where lines are missing from a given manuscript copy, they are added, inside square brackets, with the source MS given for each line.

Minimal Editorial Intervention

Editorial intervention, apart from some punctuation (and the tagging of scribal features, mentioned above), has been limited, and includes occasional correction of obvious scribal errors during this phase of the project. Nonetheless, some of the texts have received more editorial attention (and intervention) than others, particularly those lives for which all the known copies have now been included in the corpus.

Proposals for Phase Two

In phase two of the project the accuracy of both the tagging and the capture of the text will be assured by specialist readers of medieval French, and the principles of editorial policy established across the corpus. The texts will be revised accordingly, with a greater level of editorial emendation and the introduction of notes on the textual cruces.

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Independent Parts: Textual Data, Search Engine, Text Display

Electronic Campsey is built with three parts, each independent of the other. In principle, the Textual Data (the Old French textual corpus) can be used with any Search Engine, and the resultant output can be displayed by any front-end Text Display program. Similarly, the Search Engine could be used with any other source texts coded in XML, and the Text Display program could be used with any other Search Engine, or Textual Data.

Textual Data

The transcribed text includes structural codes, in Extensible Markup Language style, based on the Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative. In Phase 1 the codes are simplified, for the purposes of entering the data easily. The coding identifies the major codicological structures, (including details of the manuscript, folio and number, column and number, rubrics, strophes or stanzas, lines, as well as works, and authors' names) and scribal corrections, additions, deletions, interversions of words or lines. All modern editorial interventions are also tagged, including corrections or the indication that lines are supernumerary, or dittographies.

Search Engine

Our search engine is based on Supergrep, an Open Source program enhancement of the Unix shell program Grep. The Campsey search engine was developed by Frank Tompa, with assistance from student research assistants. The user interface is available in both French and English (with help files).

Text Display: Defining the Style

The text display is controlled by a text “tag” file which can be edited to modify any element of the style. The tag file is a table, comprised of the xml tags and their attributes: opposite each entity and attribute, the value entered in the table serves either to turn printing on, or to suppress printing.

If printing is turned on, additional values entered in the table define fonts, colours, and can insert extra characters to be printed before or after the text string enclosed within the tags, or an attribute value. For example, in our Standard style, when the processor encounters a tag sequence such as
<sic corr=“Reine”>&lgQ2;eine</sic>,
the text which is displayed on the screen is simply:
Reine (Ms:Qeine).

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