Sir Thomas Malory, His Turbulent Career: A Biography

By Edward Hicks | Go to book overview

Preface

En habes, lector benevole. -- Here you may find, gentle reader, a multitude of exciting novelties about that Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel and Winwick whom I had the good luck to identify, thirty odd years ago, with the author of Le Morte d' Arthur. Such a feast needs no proclaiming; but, since Mr. Hicks has done me the honour to request me to write a note of invitation, I must try to do what he asks as unobtrusively as I can.

To hard-headed and stout-hearted students of literary antiquities the important facts which our keen and indefatigable investigator has discovered will make instant appeal. Nor will they be shocked or disconcerted by the wildness of the actions recorded. To the sentimental reader we may leave the task of adjusting Sir Thomas's biography, as now revealed, to the notions he may have derived of him from his immortal romance. Everybody must admire the way in which Mr. Hicks has gathered such a wealth of pertinent information, historical and social, to set forth in a true light the extraordinary conditions which made Malory's career natural and normal in fifteenth-century England. As Pike, the historian of crime, remarked long ago: "The qualities of the knight errant and the gentleman have often been attributed to the highwayman and the brigand. Nor can it be disputed that the highwayman and the brigand have much in common with the knight errant."

Let us not be over-much concerned by the charges brought against Sir Thomas Malory in 1451, serious as

-vii-

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