The Morte Darthur:A Collection of Early-Nineteenth-Century Editions
This is a 7 volume facsimile reprint collection of three important but ‘difficult to find’ editions of The Morte Darthur by Thomas Malory, two published in 1816, one in 1817. The three editions marked the revival of Medievalism in the Romantic era, and played an important role for the Romantic poets to ‘discover’ the richness of the medieval literature which was followed by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the middle of the century.
The edition in volumes 1-2 was the landmark of this literary movement. The Morte Darthur was published for the first time in nearly two centuries since William Stansby’s 1634 edition. They were small pocket size books (enlarged by 140% in this facsimile) and very popular among literary figures as such John Keats, William Wordsworth and Leigh Hunt.
Volumes 3-5 include another pocket book edition (also enlarged by 140% in this collection) originally published in the same year, 1634, and particularly valuable as an example of a ‘bowdlerized’ edition of Thomas Malory’s text. It is known that Alfred Tennyson learned of The Morte Darthur from this book.
The edition in volumes 6-7 (reprinted in the original quarto size) is the first Malory text scholarly edited, and is considered to be the most important contribution to the academic publishing history of The Morte Darthur. Based on William Caxton’s edition of 1485, the editor Robert Southey added a long introduction and detailed annotations which provided the medievalist with a valuable source for research. It also influenced such Pre-Raphaelists as William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones.
Accompanied with a new bibliographic study in English by Yuri Fuwa, this facsimile collection of the three different editions of The Morte Darthur which are all rare in the antiquarian book market, should be in any academic libraries with courses of English literature.
Table of Contents
Volume 1-2: (c. 1010 pp.)
The History of the Renowned Prince Arthur of Britain; with his Life and Death, and All His Glorious Battles. Likewise, the Noble Acts and Heroic Deeds of his Valiant Knights of the Round Table, in two volumes
London: Printed for Walker and Edwards; J.Richardson; F.C. and J. Rivington; J. Nunn; Law and Whittaker; Newman and Co.; Lackington and Co.; Longman, Hurst, Rees,Orme, and Brown; Cadell and Davies; Black and Co.; Sherwood, Neely, and Jones; R.Scholey; Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy; Gale and Fenner; J. Asperne; J. Robinson; and B. Reynolds. 1816.
Preliminary Remarks on the Origin of the Following Romance, pp. v-viii.
Preface, or Advertisement to the Reader, for the Better Illustration and Understanding of the Famous History, pp. ix-xvi
Preface of William Caxton, to the Christian Reader, pp. xvi.
Contents, pp. xvii-xxxii
Volume 3-5, (c. 1,200 pp.)
La Mort D’Arthur. The Most Ancient and Famous History of the Renowned Prince Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. By Sir Thos Malory, Knt. London. Printed & Published by R. Wilks, 89, Chancery Lane; Sold also by Simpkin & Marshall, Stationers Court, Ludgate Hill; and all other Booksellers: 1816.
The Preface of William Caxton, to the Christian Reader, p. iii.
The Prologue of William Caxton, pp. iv-vii.
The Original Preface or Advertisement, to the Reader, for the Better Illustration and Understanding of the Famous History. pp. viii-xii.
The Contents and Chapters of Part 1, pp.xiii-xxiv.
Advertisement, Containing Some Account of the Respective Editions of Prince Arthur, pp. i-vi.
Volume 6-7: (c. 995 pp.）
The Byrth, Lyf and Actes of Kyng Arthur; of His Noble Knyghtes of the Rounde Table, Theyr Merveyllous Enquestes and Aduentures, Thachyeuyng of the Sanc Greal; and in the End le Morte Darthur, with the Dolorous Deth and Departyng Out of Thys Worlde of Them All. With an Introduction and Notes by Robert Southey, esq. London: Printed from Caxton’s Edition, 1485, for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, Paternoster-Row by Thomas Davison, Whitefriars, 1817.
Preface, pp. i- xxxii. Notes to the Preface, pp. xxxiii-lxiii.