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BY SYR THOMAS MALORY

THE ORIGINAL EDITION OF WILLIAM CAXTON

NOW REPRINTED AND EDITED

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PREFACE.

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HEN, two years ago, I resolved upon reproducing

the editio princeps of Sir Thomas Malory's
Morte Darthur," I determined that, as far as lay
within my power, my edition should be a standard
work of English literature, and should serve as a

worthy token of the gratitude which, in common with all scholars who have worked at the British Museum, I feel towards the English people for the unrivalled organisation of that magnificent institution, and towards the unfailing courtesy and helpfulness of its officials. Bearing this high purpose in my mind, I have done my utmost to test and sift every question relating to this best of all English romances, as Sir Walter Scott so rightly styles it. Whatever shortcomings there may be in my humble work, they are not, I can honestly say, due to lack of zeal and energy. I have hopes that this will be recognised by the world of scholarship to which I offer the result of my labours.

The consequence of this purpose, from which I have never swerted, has been a considerable delay in the issue of my prolegomena to Caxton's reprint. This delay, though chiefly due to ill-health, which necessitated abstention from work during several months, is also partly due to the fact that I was unable at the outset to clearly recognise the magnitude of the task that I had taken upon me. I found, for instance, the investigations into the question of Malory's sources longer and more arduous than I had anticipated from the very scanty remarks in even important works bearing on this subject. To discuss this theme adequately required much more time

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