Sir Thomas Malory: The Critical Heritage

By Marylyn Parins | Go to book overview

5.

Two seventeenth-century comments

A.


Stansby’s edition

1634

William Stansby (d. 1639), a printer, acquired the rights to the Morte Darthur in 1626 and published a new edition, for Jacob Blome, in 1634. The preface gives a brief summary of events of British history drawn mainly from Geoffrey, ‘set down to confute the errours of such as are of an opinion that there was never any such man as king Arthur’. After additional urging that Arthur be accepted and honoured, the author/editor, possibly Blome, introduces Malory’s book, as seen in the first passage (a) below; phrases in this section seem to echo Bale (see No. 3B above). He also explains his expurgations.

This edition altered Caxton’s divisions of the text, so after repeating Caxton’s prologue down to the contents of the twenty-one books, this preface substituted the second passage (b) to explain the new arrangements. Both passages are taken from Thomas Wright’s edition of Malory, based on Stansby, La Mort d’Arthure (London: John Russell Smith, 1858), I, xxiv-xxv and xxxii-xxxiii.

(a)

This following history was first written in the French and Italian tongues, so much did the poets and chronologers of forraine nations admire our Arthur. It was many yeares after the first writing of it, translated into English, by the painfull industry of one Sir Thomas Maleore, knight, in the ninth year of the raigne of king Edward the Fourth, about one hundred and fifty two yeares past; wherein the reader may see the best forme and manner of writing and speech that was in use at those times. In many places fables and fictions are inserted, which may be a blemish to the reputation of what is true in this history, and it is unfitting for us to raze or blot out all the errours of our ancestours, for by our taking considera

-61-

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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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