The Alliterative Morte Arthure: A Critical Edition

The Alliterative Morte Arthure A Critical Edition EDITED FROM ROBERT THORNTONS MS AB A D IN THE L BHAB Y OF LINCOLN CATIIEDBAL GEORGE G PERRY M A BPBEHDARY OF LINCOLN AXD RECTO OF WADUINGTON LAIE FELLOW AND ZUTOE OF LINCOLN COLLEGE OHYORU LON

  • Title: The Alliterative Morte Arthure: A Critical Edition
  • Author: Valerie Krishna
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 276
  • Format: Hardcover
  • EDITED FROM ROBERT THORNTONS MS AB 1440 A.D IN THE L1BHAB.Y OF LINCOLN CATIIEDBAL, GEORGE G PERRY, M.A BPBEHDARY OF LINCOLN AXD RECTO OF WADUINGTON LAIE FELLOW AND ZUTOE OF LINCOLN COLLEGE, OHYORU LONDON PUBLISHED FOR TIIE EARLY ENGLISH TEXT SOCIETY, PREFACE, IT is confessedly almost impossible to fix on the exact point of time when the Semi Saxon dialect,EDITED FROM ROBERT THORNTONS MS AB 1440 A.D IN THE L1BHAB.Y OF LINCOLN CATIIEDBAL, GEORGE G PERRY, M.A BPBEHDARY OF LINCOLN AXD RECTO OF WADUINGTON LAIE FELLOW AND ZUTOE OF LINCOLN COLLEGE, OHYORU LONDON PUBLISHED FOR TIIE EARLY ENGLISH TEXT SOCIETY, PREFACE, IT is confessedly almost impossible to fix on the exact point of time when the Semi Saxon dialect, which had replaced the formal Anglo Saxon after the Norman Conquest, passed into the Early English Those characteristic changes which con stitute the modernization of a language were proceeding gradually Inflections mere being lost, distinctive marks of gender and case neglected, variations of meaning coming to be expressed rather by combinations of words than by changes in the words them selves, and the result was that about the middle of the thirteenth century England was speaking a language mering by a wide interval from that of the country three centuries before This Early English, stage of the language may be con sidered to extend from about the beginning of the reign of Henry 111 to the end of that of Edward III when it was suc ceeded by the Middle Englis1b.l During the whole of this period continual modification of the English tongue was going on The language of the proclamation to the people of Huntingdonshire differs greatly from the language of Chaucer, and even from l See Dr Latham on The English Language, chap iii and Hallams Intro duction to Literature of Europe, that of Piers Plowman and of the poem which is here put forth It is probable that the Norte Arthure is somewhat later in date than Piers Ploman, but that it still falls within the period marked out for the limits of BurlyXnglish, In comparing together the writings of this date we are at once struck by a distinction which seems to separate them into two classes In Chaucer we see the tendency towards foreign words and idioms, and the adoption of the rhyming metre invented during the decay of the Latin tongue in Piers Ploman and the 3lorte Arthure me trace the prevalence of the Saxon words and rhythm, the alliterative or accented metre being preferred to the final cadence In the judgment of Warton the latter style was an evident and palpable barbarism This critic severely censures the author of Piers Plowman, and, but that he was unacquainted with the Morte Arthure, would doubtless have included its author also in his condemnation Instead of availing himself of the rising and rapid improvem.ents of the English language Longland prefers and adopts the style of the Anglo Saxon poets Nor did he make these writers the models of his language only he likewise imitates their alliterative versification, which con sisted in using an aggregate of words beginning with the same letter But this imposed constraint of seeking identical initials and the affectation of obsolete English, by demanding a constant and necessary departure from the natural and obvious forms of expreasion, contributed also to render his manner extremely per plexed, and to disgust the readers with obsurities It is hoped that the readers of the following poem will not be so l Alliteration is the general character of all the early Gothic metres Latham Wartons History of English Poetry, readily disgusted those very obscurities which were so dis tasteful to the polite critic constituting some of the chief re commendation of thecomposition It is hoped also that the poem will be welcomed not only on philological and gramma tical grounds, but on the ground also of its own intrinsic merit for the fire, vigour, and liveliness of its style, and the vast profusion of descriptive epithets which it pours out before the reader

    One thought on “The Alliterative Morte Arthure: A Critical Edition”

    1. This edition by Valerie Krishna is by far the best version of the Alliterative Morte Arthure on the market and the first scholarly edition to be published in English in over a hundred years. Krishna provides an excellent introduction to the text that explores questions on the date and place of composition, authorship, language, style and structure. Also includes a textual commentary, glossary and bibliography. The text itself is far superior to the 1974 edition by Larry Benson. Even a quick glan [...]

    2. You know what? Any book where you can open to a random page and sing the contents to the tune of "My Favorite Things" deserves some love. Oh, and there's all that stuff about Arthur!

    3. I forget which version of the alliterative morte arthure I read, but I seem to recall (read it in 1989) that Arthur was fighting the Romans.

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