British LibraryTreasures in full: Caxton's Chaucer
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Comparing the texts

How to compare the texts

You can view the first or the second edition of Caxton’s Canterbury Tales separately or you can compare them.
If you chose to see one edition at a time, you will get two pages on the screen, the way you would if you had the book open in front of you. But to read them you may have to enlarge the image by clicking on it or using the enlarge icon (see below).

Drop-down lists give you the order of the tales in each edition – they are not in the same order. This enables you to go to the beginning of each tale.

If you want to compare the text of the two editions, you have to go to the beginning of a tale and leaf though both editions as you read through them. This is because the two editions do not follow one another page by page; sometimes the order of the lines is different, sometimes the order of the tales is different and some lines only appear in one of the two editions.

You can also link through to transcriptions of the two editions held by De Montfort University on their website. The transcriptions are accessed from the enlarged view of pages; they open in a new window, which needs to be closed before viewing other pages. You will see that the two sites use different methods for numbering the pages of the second edition. Scholars who want to move to a particular line of the text, or search for specific words can do so at the De Montfort web resource, which also links back to the originals on our site.

Icons shown on the display page act as follows:

Magnify image Shows an enlarged view of the page, opening in a new window. The left and right hand pages are enlarged independently, and open in separate windows, for easier comparison.

Show the next or previous page. When viewing one edition, these icons move two pages at a time, as if turning the page of the book. When viewing two editions, the icons on the left hand side move the left hand edition, and those on the right the right hand edition. These icons also appear in the enlarged view.

  As well as these icons, you can display any page directly by entering its number in the 'go to folio' box at the bottom of the screen. Folio numbers should be entered in the format as displayed.

Print Gives a printer-friendly version of the pages.
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