Sir Thomas Malory: The Critical Heritage

By Marylyn Parins | Go to book overview

37.

Brief references

1886-90

A.


Frederic Harrison

1886

Frederic Harrison (1831-1923), author, popular lecturer, professor of jurisprudence, wrote prolifically on a variety of historical and literary subjects. In The Choice of Books (1886), Harrison provides some commentary and background information for favourite works of literature; in the extract below, he briefly compares the Morte Darthur and The Cid and later justifies calling Malory’s work poetry.

Extracts are from The Choice of Books (London: Macmillan, 1925), pp. 43-5.

…Spain and the Celtic race of Western England and Western France have two great epic cycles, which cluster round the names of the Cid and of Arthur.

Whilst the Spanish Cycle is the more national, heroic, and stirring, the Arthurian Cycle is the best embodiment of chivalry, of romance, of gallantry. The vast cluster of tales which envelop King Arthur and his comrades is the expression of European chivalry and the feudal genius as a whole, idealising the knight, the squire, the lady, the princess of the Middle Ages. For all practical purposes, we English have it in its best form; for the compilation of Sir Thomas Malory is wrought into a mould of pure English, hardly second to the English of the Bible. 1

Methinks that the tale of the death of Arthur, Guinevere, and of Lancelot, as told by Malory, along with the death and last death-march of the Cid, as told in the Chronicle, may stand beside the funeral of Hector, which closes the Iliad— 2

-233-

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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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