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A ‘glossarial’ concordance to the works of Chaucer and the English works of John Gower is now available on a site at Johns Hopkins

6 Jul 2018 9:04 AM | Brandon Alakas

A Note from Christopher Cannon

Glossarial Concordance to Middle English
middleenglish.library.jhu.edu
The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer and the English Works of John Gower

The data was compiled by the late Larry Benson from the electronic files created when he edited the Riverside Chaucer as well as the similar files he created in his retirement from Macaulay’s edition of Gower. As many of you know, the concordance was available on Harvard’s Chaucer website for some years, although, as Larry said, it was ‘buggy from the start’ (it turns out there were some simple but disabling errors in the original indexing files), and, recently, it had become all but unusable. I recently persuaded the library at Hopkins of the importance of this data to Middle English studies, however, as well as its potential for the digital humanities, and so a variety of resources were made available including a software engineer to provide new programming for the data with a variety of new searching possibilities. The most important advance I think—which should make this usable by beginning students—is an auto-fill function in the search boxes so that Middle English approximations of the form you are typing as well as possible dictionary headwords are suggested and progressively refined. This site also makes available the tagged text (which you can see alongside or instead of the untagged text of each line) and Benson’s tagging system (sui generis but a useful standard since it is entirely based on MED abbreviations). I have hopes of expanding the site by adding other Middle English texts both major and minor myself, but anyone who wishes to tag a text for inclusion is most welcome to do so.

There will soon be an email address available on the site (under the ‘Contact’ tab) should you encounter problems when using it or want to recommend revisions or particular expansions. In the meantime, however, you are welcome to write to me with suggestions or concerns at Christopher.Cannon@jhu.edu.

With best wishes
Chris

Christopher Cannon
middleenglish.library.jhu.edu
Glossarial Concordance to Middle English
The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer and the English Works of John Gower

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