Introduction to Stage I
Comparing the Manuscript Images
In the next section you will be able to view and compare images (facsimiles) of the four manuscripts of 'Dulce et Decorum est'. Any combination of pairs of manuscript images can be compared and contrasted. Once you have decided on a base manuscript (see below) use the Next link beneath the manuscript images to to continue to stage II.
Choosing a Base Manuscript
At the heart of your edition will be the base manuscript. This is the manuscript (also known as a 'witness') of the poem which you feel to be most representative of authorial intention, i.e. the closest to the version Wilfred Owen meant for publication. There are many things you can base this decision on e.g.:
- Is there any indication as to which manuscript was the last one worked on by Owen?
- Can you work out the order in which the manuscripts were composed, i.e. does one look like it was copied from another but then worked on and altered in order to better the poem?
- Are all the manuscripts complete or do some of them only retain part of the poem?
- Is one of the manuscripts a 'final draft' as opposed to a 'working draft'?