Editing Piers Plowman
The Evolution of the Text
By Charlotte Brewer
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 1996
Online Publication Date:August 2009
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511518690.020
Subjects: Anglo Saxon and Medieval Literature
Information on the fate of the edition is now (post-1942) much harder to come by. Elsie Hitchcock died at the end of the year, and there is no evidence that Chambers' sister ever played a part, as amanuensis or otherwise, in her brother's academic affairs. The next clue comes in a short article which appeared in Speculum in 1945 under the name of George R. Coffmann, who had written to Chambers just before his death in April 1942. The article reproduced a formal report (last revised 27 June 1944) prepared by Grattan on the state of the Piers Plowman edition.
At this stage, the edition was still intended for the Early English Text Society. Grattan writes, ‘Dr Chambers and I had worked out our principles of editing, and the first volume [presumably Pro IV] of our Critical A-text was practically ready ten years ago and more.’ He continues,
Almost at the last moment, however, it was found advisable to modify the original plan of printing the A-, B-, & C-texts separately (as in Skeat's E. E. T. S. edition) in favour of exhibiting the three texts of [sic; sc. ‘on’] one page or opening (as in Skeat's Oxford edn.). This change of plan, by which no portion of the Critical A-text could be published until the corresponding B- & C-texts should be ready, necessarily involved a somewhat indefinite postponement of the publication of the first volume of the projected E. E. T. S. edition.
Grattan also gives the whereabouts of his current collaborators.