APPENDIX TWO
THE SOURCES OF THE MORT DARTHUR

1. Introductory

THE study of Malory's sources is of comparatively recent date. Early critics vaguely described them as French 'romances of chivalry' and seldom committed themselves to more definite statements. Up to 1890 only four important suggestions were made: in 1817 Southey pointed out that Malory had 'drawn liberally' from the prose Tristan contained in Vérard's edition of 1495;1 in 1878 Moritz Trautmann urged that Malory's Book V was derived from the alliterative Morte Arthure;2 in 1886 Gaston Paris, in his edition of the Huth Merlin, traced some parts of Malory's first four books to that manuscript,3 and in the same year he compared Malory's version of the Conte de la Charrete with the French.4

On the 4th January 1890 there was published in The Academy a letter in which Dr. H. Oskar Sommer announced his intention of making public, in the third volume of his edition of the Morte Darthur, the conclusions he had reached as to Malory's sources. 'The result of my researches', he wrote, 'surpasses all my anticipations . . . I can clearly show what were the versions of the sources Malory used, and how he altered and added to them to suit his purpose.' The results of these studies have since been published in a voluminous book.5 Most critics accepted them as the only firm basis for a critical examination of Malory's text, and E. Kölbing went even so far as to say that no further study was required.6 In reality, however, the promise made in the letter to The Academy was only partially fulfilled, and to all those who ventured to under-

____________________
1
The Byrth, lyf and actes of Kyng Arthur; of his noble Knyghtes of the rounde table, theyr marveyllous conquestes and adventures, thacheuyng of the Sanc Greal; and in the end le morte d'Arthur, ed. by Rob. Southey ( London, 1817), Preface.
2
Anglia, i.145-6.
3
Merlin, roman en prose du XIIIe siècle publié par Gaston Paris et Jacob Ulrich (S.A.T.F.), Paris, 1886, pp. lxx-lxxii.
4
Romania, xii, pp. 499-508.
5
Op. cit., vol. iii.
6
Englische Studien, xvi. 403: 'Um eine Recension dieses Buches zu schreiben, müsste man die ganze Untersuchung noch einmal machen, eine Arbeit, die sich für jeden, der nicht das Glück hat Jahre lang in englischen Bibliotheken arbeiten zu können, von selbst verbietet. Und ich meine, das ist auch im vorliegenden Fall für eine Formirung unseres Urtheils kaum erförderlich.'

-128-

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Malory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Illustrations x
  • Chapter One - Sir Thomas Malory and His Printer 1
  • Chapter Two - the Genesis of Arthurian Romance 14
  • Chapter Three - Narrative Technique 29
  • Chapter Four - Romance and Realism 43
  • Chapter Five - the Genius of Chivalry 55
  • Chapter Six - Camelot and Corbenic 70
  • Chapter Seven - the New Arthuriad 85
  • Chapter Eight Translation and Style 100
  • Conclusion 109
  • Appendix One Materials for Malory's Biography 115
  • Appendix Two the Sources of the Mort Darthur 128
  • Appendix Three 155
  • Bibliography 189
  • Index 199
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