This single-volume edition of the complete works of Sir Thomas Malory was first published in the Oxford Standard Authors series in 1971. It was described then in The Scotsman as 'a text which is not only the most accurate ever available, but also beautifully presented and a pleasure to read', and it supersedes for students of the Arthurian legends Caxton's Le Morte D'Arthur. The basis of the text is the unique fifteenth-century manuscript found in 1934 in the Fellows Library of Winchester College, which is not merely much closer than Caxton's text to what Malory actually wrote, but livelier too. Its fifteenth-century English presents few difficulties, and the reader's eye quickly becomes accustomed to the old spellings, which could not be modernized without destroying much of the essential period quality of this great early masterpiece of English literature. Included in this edition are an introduction, a glossary, and fifty pages of explanatory notes on each of Malory's romances.
Eugene Vinaver is Emeritus Professor in the University of Manchester.