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Pp. xxi + 235. East Lansing: Colleagues Press, 1992. 19.95[pounds].
AT a time when short-termism rules, and frequency of publication sometimes seems to be more important than quality, it is a real pleasure to review Tony Hunt's very substantial (in every sense of the word) three-volume study of thirteenth-century Anglo-Norman and Middle English lexical glossing in insular manuscripts. I would not wish it any shorter. Its erudition is extraordinary, its significance hard to exaggerate. D. S. Brewer Ltd deserve our warmest thanks for having published it, albeit at such a high price.
Given that this is the first study of its kind, Hunt has taken his principal purpose to be the provision of a conspectus of the school texts which underwent vernacular glossing, and to reproduce the glosses themselves. His first volume begins with a general discussion of the variety of Latin and vernacular glossing, then proceeds to discuss, and sometimes to edit, the Latin school texts and teaching aids which are the hosts of the vernacular glosses. The editions include Adam of Petit Pont's De utensilibus, Alexander Nequam's De nominibus utensilium and Sacerdos ad altare, John of Garland's Dictionarius and Commentarius, and Alexander of Hales's Exoticon, all printed in their entirety. Anglo-Saxon specialists will welcome his chapter on AElfric's grammar. Denuded of its Old English, his exposition of the Latin parts of …