Sir Thomas Malory, His Turbulent Career: A Biography

By Edward Hicks | Go to book overview

Chapter XV
DID THE WARWICKSHIRE KNIGHT WRITE
THE MORTE?

T WILL be asked, How can it be proved that Sir Thomas Malory, Kt., of Newbold Revel, Warwickshire, was the author of the Morte d'Arthur? The answer is, He is the only one who fulfils the conditions, which are: (1) He must have been a knight; (2) he must have been alive in the ninth year of Edward IV -- March 4, 1469, to March 3, 1470 (both included); (3) he must have been old enough in 9 Edward IV to make it possible that he should have written this work. Further, Caxton does not say that he received the "copy" directly from the author, and his language may be held to indicate that Malory was dead when the book was printed. In this case, he must have died before the last day of July, 1485, and we have a fourth condition to be complied with.

All these conditions (including the fourth, which can hardly be regarded as imperative) are satisfied by Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel, and by none other. Professor Kittredge has dealt very exhaustively with this question, and his conclusion is as follows: "No one need hesitate to identify ' Thomas Malorie, miles,' of this ( 1468) pardon with the Warwickshire gentleman whom we are now considering. There appears to have been but one Sir Thomas Malory, Kt., living in England in 8 Edward IV. . . . This leaves, so far as appears at pres-

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