Instructions for First-Time Users
Where do I start?
The poem Piers Plowman comes down to us in over 50 different manuscripts, in three different versions (A, B, C). This archive contains both editions of individual manuscripts and a reconstruction of the common ancestor of the B manuscripts (the B-archetype).
If you want to look at an individual manuscript, select Texts. If you want to access the B-Archetype, go to About, then select Materials and Methods for Reconstructing the B-Archetype.
What do I want to do?
View the text of a particular manuscript:
- Select the manuscript's nickname (sigil) from the drop-down list on the home page to go to the main page for the manuscript, or select the manuscript from the Texts page.
- Select which passus (verse chapter) you wish to see from the drop-down menu on the manuscript's main page, or jump directly to the passus from the Texts page.
See the text transcribed as it appears in the manuscript:
- Select Diplomatic from the Stylesheets drop-down meu at the top of the page.
Note: This view shows links to notes but otherwise no editorial interventions.
See the text as it appears in the manuscript, but with some editorial guidance:
- Select Scribal from the Stylesheets drop-down menu at the top of the page.
Note: This view reproduces the manuscript's ink colors and uses color-coding to indicate where the editors have provided further information about a particular reading.
See the text as it appears in the manuscript, but with full editorial annotations:
- Select All Views from the Stylesheets drop-down menu at the top of the page.
Note: This view shows all notes, editorial annotations, and apparatus to give you all the information we have collected about the various readings and idiosyncrasies of the scribe's text.
See the text as it would appear in a printed edition:
- Select Critical from the Stylesheets drop-down menu at the top of the page.
Note: This view displays links to notes and attempts to represent the scribe's original intentions.
Color Conventions in Different Views of the Text
XML markup provides the basis for customized presentations of the text through the use of Cascading Style Sheets. We offer four views to present four levels of interpretation of the edited text. The following chart is a key to the color coding used within each style sheet.
- Red occurs in the Scribal, Diplomatic, and AllTags style sheets where the scribe used red ink. Black characters with a red shadow represent characters written in text ink and touched with a bit of red ink.
- Blue in the Scribal, Diplomatic, and AllTags style sheets indicates textual elements written in blue ink.
- Lime in the Scribal and AllTags style sheets indicates all matter appearing inside the XML tag <ORIG> (=original reading). For instance, L4.196 reads "And I graunt quod the kynge · goddesforbode it faile" with "goddesforbode" appearing in lime green in both Scribal and Alltags. (AllTags also displays the regularized reading. See "Olive" below.)
- Olive in the AllTags style sheet indicates a regularized reading (contents of a <REG> tag) shown in conjunction with the corresponding <ORIG> reading in lime green. For instance, L4.169 reads "And I graunt quod the kynge · goddesforbode / goddes forbode it faile" Note that the Critical style sheet prints only "goddes forbode" without any marker to call attention to it. Similarly, the Diplomatic style sheet prints "goddesforbode" in black without notice.
- Violet in the Scribal and AllTags style sheets distinguishes readings that we take to reflect scribal error (the contents of <SIC> tags). For example, at O2.100, the Scribal style sheet will read "Til sleuþe & sleelp sliken hise sydes." The AllTags style sheet will read "Til sleuþe & sleelp / sleep sliken hise sydes." The Diplomatic transcription reads "sleelp" without any coding, and the Critical style sheet will read "sleep" in black.
- Purple appears only in the AllTags style sheet, where it marks the contents of a <CORR> (= correction) tag which is separated from the contents of a matching <SIC> tag by a violet virgule.
- Brown in the AllTags style sheet represents supralinear, inline, and marginal additions. Left click on the word or characters in brown, and both the position of the added matter and the identification of the hand responsible for it will appear in the right window.
- Aqua in the AllTags style sheet represents text that has been damaged but is still legible, and text that is unclear for any reason.
Sample List of Elements and Attributes
- Attribute: type
- Value: codicological, lexical, paleographic, textual
Description: These are editorial notes that discuss aspects of the text, dialect, or physical manuscript not otherwise marked by XML tagging.
- Attribute: lang
- Value: fre, lat
Description: Foreign tags mark instances in the poem of languages other than English, generally Latin (lat) and French (fre).
- Attribute: type
- Value: gloss
- Attribute: hand
- Value: hand1, hand2, handx, etc. See the list of hands in the Introduction to each manuscript.
Description: Marginalia tags surround any text or meaningful marks in the margins of the folio. The "gloss" value is not available on all manuscripts.
Description: The "apparatus" tag explains the relationship between the texts of various manuscripts, marking where the manuscript at hand differs from others. To search for specific app tags, use the Contains field with the reading you are looking for. Not available on all manuscripts.
Element: orig, reg
Description: The "original" tag marks where a scribe has written as one word a phrase that would ordinarily be considered two or more words, and the "regularized" tag gives the phrase with standard spacing. (For example, scribes often write the indefinite article together with the following word: "asomer" for "a somer".) To search for specific orig or reg tags, use the Contains field with the reading you are looking for.