Sir Thomas Malory: The Critical Heritage

By Marylyn Parins | Go to book overview

taken the trouble to compare the old prose with the modern verse can fail to admire the skill with which the somewhat crude originals have been transformed by the brilliant word-painting of the poet. The contrast between the older and the newer form of the stories is something like that between a mediaeval illumination and a finished picture by Mr. Millais or Mr. Holman Hunt. The miniatures in an old MS. have often great beauty and expressiveness, but the bloodless figures are devoid of life, and the surroundings are purely conventional; the touch of the modern painter gives life and movement to the stiff forms. So it is in Mr. Tennyson’s pictures of the Arthurian heroes. No doubt Sir Lancelot is a ‘modern gentleman,’ and the fair Guenevere a modern lady, thrown back into the olden time; but so are the Lancelot and Guenevere of the old romance characters of the Plantagenet era thrown back so far as to derive from distance a new charm; and we are grateful to the poet for having painted for us the old heroes with the thoughts and feelings which animate this ‘wondrous motherage.’


27.

Edward Conybeare

1868

J.W. Edward Conybeare (1843-1931), in addition to an abridged and expurgated edition of the Morte Darthur, wrote guide books to Cambridgeshire and, later in his life, works on Alfred and on Roman Britain. Here, as an expurgator, he takes a stronger position than that of Knowles (see No. 21) on the defects of Malory’s work that his edition will remedy, but he, too, guides the reader back to the unexpurgated version.

His remarks appear in La Morte D’Arthur: The History of King Arthur Compiled by Sir Thomas Mallory, abridged and revised by Edward Conybeare (London: Edward Moxon, 1868), pp. iii-v.

In bringing out this edition of the History of King Arthur, the object of the Editor has been to put into a more popular form one

-173-

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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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