Christianity. In the rapid advance of literature and intelligence from Sir Thomas Malory’s point of time—an advance so much more rapid than any that followed the productions of Chaucer—we may perhaps detect an illustration, not only of the value of printing, but of that extraordinary action of prose language in exploiting and generating mental power which has still to be taken into due consideration in accounting for the beginnings of civilisation.
‘The Morte d’Arthur’, English Illustrated Magazine, 6 (1888- 9), pp. 55-64 and 86-92.
Frederick Ryland (1854-1902) lectured at University College, London, and published student manuals on logic and psychology. He also edited Swift, Locke, and Johnson, and drew up a Chronological Outline of English Literature presumably as an aid to memorization for students; the work went through numerous editions.
In the article below, besides noting some of Malory’s alterations to his Vulgate sources, Ryland points out that Malory and other medieval authors cannot be judged by neo-classical standards. (See Introduction, pp. 22-4.) His lengthy passages of quotation and paraphrasing from Malory have been omitted.
For the reference to the popularizing efforts of Rhys, see No. 36; B. Montgomerie Ranking was the editor of La Mort d’Arthur. The Old Prose Stories Whence the ‘Idylls of the King’ Have Been Taken (London: John Camden Hotten, 1871), a book of selections from Malory and the Mabinogion.