Gustavus Howard Maynadier (1867-1960), professor of English at Harvard University, wrote introductions to novels of Defoe, Fielding, and Smollett, and also published a book on sources and analogues to the ‘Wife of Bath’s Tale’. The work quoted below, The Arthur of the English Poets, grew, he says in its preface, from a course for his Harvard and Radcliffe students begun in 1900. Maynadier notes, too, that MacCallum’s book (No. 48) was then the only one on the subject that was both ‘accurate and readable’. Maynadier’s range is wider than that of MacCallum, and his discussion of pre-Renaissance Arthurian literature much more extensive.
Maynadier begins the chapter on Malory with a summary of Kittredge’s biographical findings (see No. 49 above) omitted here. His assessment of Malory’s talent stresses characterization and style over construction, but he does call the work epic and gives Malory some credit for originality. The book is a Riverside Press Edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1907), pp. 218-46.
Remarkable as it is that the author of so important a work as the Morte Darthur should till recently have been known only by name, such is nevertheless the case. You will search the Dictionary of National Biography in vain for definite information about him. It remained for Professor Kittredge of Harvard University to discover, not many years ago, the few facts that are known regarding this writer of the most popular mediaeval romance. In setting them forth I cannot do better, for the most part, than quote directly from Professor Kittredge’s article, Who Was Sir Thomas Malory? [See No. 49]…
As Professor Kittredge says, this Malory was just the man to write the Morte Darthur. His birth, education, and training fitted him to do so. Excluded from the pardon issued by Edward IV, he had to keep out of public life, even in his native Warwickshire.