Medieval Philology and Nationalism: The British and German Editors of Thomas of Erceldoune

Richard Utz


The reception of the late fourteenth-century romance/lay/ballad Thomas of Erceldoune by romantic enthusiasts, antiquarians, modernist philologists, and twentieth-century medievalists reveals the dangerous indebtedness of a quasi-scientific medieval philology to competing national paradigmatic constructions (German, English, Scottish) on the one hand and the ongoing foundational value of philological work for current medieval textual scholarship on the other. Thus, while debunking the disinterestedness claimed by modernist philology, the essay attests to the enduring success of philological editorial practice regarding this specific late medieval poem.

Full Text: