The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Richardson, Malcolm. "The Earliest Known Owners of Canterbury Tales MSS and Chaucer's Secondary Audience." 25 (1990): 17-32.
Following the death of Chaucer's immediate contemporaries, the two earliest known owners of Chaucer manuscripts were Richard Sotheworth and John Stopyndon who, while not particularly literary or artistic, could appreciate Chaucer's work. Both men were Chancery clerks, a position allowing "advancement, security, patronage, travel, wealth, and . . . a sense of comeraderie and collegial tradition" (23). Records indicate that both men took advantage of their positions as clerks. Furthermore, though they probably considered books mere possessions, they helped to create a community dedicated to "reading, debate, and the written word" (30).