chapter
16 Pages

John Matthews Manly (1865-1940) Edith Rickert (1871-1938)

John Matthews Manly and Edith Rickert, best known for their Text of the Canterbury Tales: Studied on the Basis of All Known Manuscripts, formed a collaboration that at one time placed the University of Chicago at the center of Chaucerian scholarship. Manly was a distinguished philologist who could comment equally well on Chaucer, Shakespeare, Baconian cipher, and modern poetry. Rickert herself published novels, stories, and children's books along with scholarly essays, translations, and editions. But their individual successes are eclipsed by the monumental work they produced together at the University of Chicago. Through their labors Chicago, the midwestern rival to Harvard and Yale, was to house the most extensive collection of Chaucer materials then under one roof, beginning with the photostatic reproductions of eighty-two manuscripts and two Caxton prints of the Canterbury Tales. Also impressive were the residual products of The Text of the Canterbury Tales: Chaucer's World, a collection of documents illuminating Chaucer's fourteenthcentury milieu, and the new Chaucer Life-Records, which doubled the archival information relating to Chaucer. Though their research has largely been superseded by technological and methodological innovation, these three texts continue to form the base of Chaucer research, providing the ground in which Chaucerians remain firmly rooted.