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The sheer volume of notes, all written in Thynne's distinctive script, indicates that he was a much more engaged reader of the Works than has previously been assumed and that he may even have made significant progress toward the commentated version of Chaucer that he speaks about in the Animadversions.
16) Many of the criticisms that Thynne voices in the Animadversions are recognizable; for example, he writes on folio 10r that Katherine Swynford's children by John of Gaunt were born prior to their marriage, and on 14v he supplements Speght's note about "Iohn Cuthenbergus, knight" with alternative accounts of the invention of printing taken from the work of the German theologian David Chytraeus and from Matthew Parker's life of Tomas Burchier.
23) In the case of Thynne, his notes to Chaucer can be compared both with the more polished text of the Animadversions and with his antiquarian writings more generally.
Conversely, as a professional researcher Thynne probably spent much more time with older archival materials, including the records of the Exchequer and Parliament rolls from which he cites in the Animadversions.
Thynne's remarks in the Animadversions and Speght's comments concerning Thynne's contributions to the revised 1602 edition of Chaucer tell us that Francis Thynne had hoped to produce an annotated edition of the Works; his reading is thus dedicated to producing the kind of commentary that would both reflect the erudition of its author and guide other readers, perhaps readers like Harvey, in their own engagement with the text.
While many of his comments in the Animadversions concern cases in which Speght's reading differs from William Thynne's second edition of 1542, which Francis Thynne regarded as the fullest expression of his father's editorial practice, Thynne does not appear to have undertaken any sort of collation between the two.
It seems likely that Thynne had access to a copy of this edition, since he refers to it in the Animadversions and in a note to the Tale of Sir Thopas.
Thynne probably had at least some familiarity with French works in manuscript, since in the Animadversions he describes seeing a copy of the Romance of the Rose that is "the oldest written copye that eyer was (to be founde in Englande, yf my coniecture fayle me not) by the age of the french woordes," and his work as a genealogist and antiquary would have required him to handle Anglo-Norman documents.
Although lexical commentary is a major component of the Animadversions, space considerations mean he can add only the briefest of notes to Speght's definitions, as when he writes that "hasard," defined by Speght as "dicing," is "an especiall play at dice.
These additions are not recounted in the Animadversions (although Thynne does criticize Speght for overlooking numerous authors); however, about a dozen appear in the revised list in Speght's 1602 edition.
Animadversions vppon the Annotacions and Corrections of Some Imperfections of Impressiones of Chaucers Workes .