The Poet's Amanuenses

In material on the original gathering of the MS B manuscript the dominant copyist is Mary, with Dorothy occasionally stepping in to help and William entering rougher draft towards the end. For the added gatherings the dominant copyist is William, working with Dorothy. This suggests that the work in each gathering may be undertaken at a different time.

That the sewn-in sections are written out separately, prior to the rest of the entry, is supported by the fact that the back of the notebook returns to a William/Mary copying partnership (after the inserted pages are integrated). It also suggests that the final construction of MS B is primarily Mary's responsibility. Potentially, it supports an argument that MS A and MS R materials are not originally considered as part of the same poem, since they are worked on separately and literally tied together here. The Grasmere narratives are a distinct gathering in themselves.

William's role within the manuscript is, as we would expect, by far the most active one since he not only copies but also re-drafts and revises. However, both Dorothy and Mary do not only copy out the text but also make active revision on the page and Mary seems to have primary responsibility for MS D revision.

Dorothy in MS B

Click on individual numbers to go to pages copied by Dorothy:





Mary in MS B

Click on individual numbers to go to pages or the start of sections copied by Mary: