This may be the greatest book I have ever owned. If you know me, that’s saying a lot. Medievalists, scholars, linguists, I present to you the Early English Text Society facsimile of the Cotton Nero A.x containing Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
The most interesting feature of the book itself is that it is not bound. What appears to be the cover is actually a small box that ties with a ribbon on the right side. Inside, all of the pages are loose, though the brief introductory material is stitched together. Inside, each page of the Cotton Nero A.x is reproduced in black and white. Each page is smaller than I’d like it (the paper size is about 7.5”x11”; the photos are smaller), but still clearly reproduced, so any difficulties in deciphering will be due to the scribal hand, not poor printing. There is no transcription of the text, but the introductory material contains a survey of scribal errors and noteworthy points.
Unfortunately, this scholarly book is rare and probably out of print. Within the last month, used copies have jumped to $1000. If you want this book, you’ll have to hunt for a deal. I spent years trying to get a copy and received one when my mother spent several months searching the internet for one as a birthday present (and no, she didn’t spend $1000 on it—she managed to find one significantly less from a seller of used books who hadn’t heard about the price spike). Library copies are also unfortunately rare, but you may be able to find one at a large university.