Sir Thomas Malory: The Critical Heritage

By Marylyn Parins | Go to book overview

couplets as compose its Preface, instead of in the admirable prose which, with his other gifts, has given him a place amongst English classics. The prose of Malory too is admirable. It is spoilt by no tricks or affectations; it is not always thinking of itself, so to speak, or wishing to be thought about. It aims merely at doing its duty as a rendering of its master’s thought. What particularly distinguishes it is its thoroughly idiomatic character. Malory displays a fine instinct in his use of his mother-tongue. It is wonderful to see how this subtle sense led him to the choice of phrases that were to remain always part of the vernacular, his choice, no doubt, improving their chance of remaining so; for there was no more popular book in the sixteenth century than the Morte d’Arthur. Above all, Malory’s language and style exactly suit his subject. In no work is there a perfecter harmony—a more sympathetic marriage—of this kind. This chronicler of knighthood is himself a knight. His heart is devoted to the chivalry he portrays, and his tongue is the faithful spokesmen of his heart.


48.

Mungo MacCallum

1894

Mungo W. MacCallum (1854-1942), who held the chair of Modern Literature for some thirty years and was then Chancellor at the University of Sydney, published Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and Arthurian Story from the XVIth Century in 1894. As the title suggests, the emphasis is upon Arthurian-based literature from the Renaissance through Tennyson, and the last four chapters are devoted exclusively to the Idylls. However, a section of the introductory chapter is entitled ‘Malory’s Compilation and the English Ballads’, and it is from this section that the extract is drawn. (Glasgow, 1894; reprinted New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1971), pp. 85-101,

-347-

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Sir Thomas Malory: The Critical Heritage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • General Editor’s Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Caxton’s Preface 47
  • 2 - Wynkyn de Worde Interpolation 51
  • 3 - Tudor Historians on Malory 52
  • 4 - Renaissance Views 56
  • 5 - Two Seventeenth-Century Comments 61
  • 6 - Biographia Britannica 64
  • 7 - Samuel Johnson 66
  • 10 - Early Nineteenth-Century Scholars and Bibliographers 81
  • 13 - Robert Southey 95
  • 17 - Unsigned Review of Wright’s Edition, Christian Examiner 114
  • 18 - David Masson 117
  • 19 - Unsigned Review of Wright’s Edition, Blackwood’s Magazine 120
  • 21 - James T. Knowles 152
  • 24 - Herbert Coleridge 157
  • 25 - F.J. Furnivall 165
  • 26 - Samuel Cheetham 170
  • 27 - Edward Conybeare 173
  • 28 - Edward Strachey 175
  • 30 - A.C. Swinburne and R.H. Hutton 189
  • 32 - Harriet W. Preston 202
  • 34 - George W. Cox 211
  • 37 - Brief References 233
  • 38 - Edward R. Russell 240
  • 39 - Frederick Ryland 252
  • 42 - Andrew Lang 292
  • 43 - Reviews of Sommer’s Edition of Malory 303
  • 44 - ‘An Arthurian Journey’, Unsigned Essay, Atlantic Monthly 314
  • 46 - Other Nineteenth-Century Editors after Sommer 329
  • 48 - Mungo Maccallum 347
  • 50 - G.H. Maynadier 379
  • Index 403
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