A Textual History of John Donne's "The Will"

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Title: A Textual History of John Donne's "The Will"
Author: McLawhorn, Tracy Elizabeth
Advisors: Dr. R. V. Young, Committee Member
Dr. M. Thomas Hester, Committee Chair
Dr. Brian Blackley, Committee Member
Abstract: The purpose of my thesis is to explain the process used to establish the copy-text of John Donne's poem "The Will" and examine the problems that arose in this process. I first consulted thirty-four manuscript versions and the seven seventeenth-century versions of this poem and transcribed these texts into files generated by the Donne Variorum Frame File Generator program. Collating these texts (using the Donne Variorum Collation software) allowed me to determine textual patterns and create a schema of textual relationships. The most significant verbal variant found among manuscript versions of "The Will" is the inclusion or omission of the third stanza (resulting in a 6-stanza or 5-stanza version). Based on the textual evidence and my interpretation of the poem, I believe that Donne first wrote a 6-stanza text and later revised this text to a 5-stanza version. The O'Flahertie text, referred to as H6 in the Donne Variorum, is a 6-stanza text that I use as the copy-text for "The Will." The O'Flahertie text is used because, based on my textual analysis, I believe this text to be the version that is closet to what Donne actually wrote. Along with the copy-text, my thesis includes a textual apparatus listing all variants, a schema of textual relationships, textual notes, and an interpretation of the poem.
Date: 2003-11-20
Degree: MA
Discipline: English
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/2899

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