, Volume 92, Issue 3, pp 523-543

‘Þus heo hit speken’: Direct and Indirect Speech in the Two Versions of Laȝ amon’s Brut

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Abstract

A major way used by the poet of Laȝamon’s Brut, of which two versions are extant, to expand and embellish his principle source, Wace’s Roman de Brut, was the addition of direct speech. The shorter version of Laȝamon’s Brut often abbreviates the text by making the exchange between characters in direct speech more concise. This paper examines slipping from indirect into direct discourse in both versions, identifying some patterns and differences between the two versions and considering the narrative function of this combined use of direct and indirect discourse. In particular, a curious case of slipping in Otho suggests further clues to the transmission of its text and the redactor’s method. Three tables display the distribution of speeches in the two versions, allowing a close comparison of the two texts.

This is a revised and enlarged version of Lucy Perry (2005). ‘Forð ferde þas sonde … & seide him þeos ibeod’: Discours direct et indirect dans le Brut de Laȝamon. (In Jürg Rainer Schwyter, Erich Poppe and Sandrine Onillon (Eds.), Le slipping dans les langues médiévales, Cahiers de l’ILSL, 18 (pp. 43–55). Lausanne: Institut de Linguistique et des Sciences du Langage.)