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Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse

This collection of about 300 Middle English primary texts was assembled over more than two decades in order to provide a publicly accessible, cross-searchable sampling of Middle English from a widely diverse range of genres, times, and places. Selection was directed towards broad inclusiveness, neglecting neither major works nor minor, but has always been constrained by the need to keep the texts public, so that anyone could access them.

Beginning in the mid-90s with a few score texts obtained from the Oxford Text Archive, transcribed by the Library, or contributed by University of Michigan faculty, the collection enjoyed two spurts of growth. The first, funded by the Delmas Foundation, added about 75 texts in the year 2000; the second, in 2016-2018, added another 150 texts or so. Both of these batches were produced by manual keying from public-domain editions, accompanied by inhouse proofreading and editing in order to ensure as high a degree of accuracy as possible.

All of the texts have been marked up using basic TEI semantics (usually at roughly the TEIlite level), and all are available for bulk download in XML form. The collection already includes some notable works (including the Chaucer Society single-manuscript transcripts, Higden's Polychronicon, and the entire Wycliffite Bible) but remains open to further expansion as opportunity offers. For further information, contact the University of Michigan Library's Digital Content and Collections unit at

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Last content update February 2, 2019.