The Noble & Joyous Boke Entytled Le Morte D'arthur [King Arthur]

Oxford: Printed at the Shakespeare Head Press and published for the Press by Basil Blackwell, 1933. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Two volumes, complete, no. 143 of 350 copies, quarto size, 724 total pp. Near fine. Item #CNSZ01

This two-volume set is the Shakespeare Head Press's edition of Sir Thomas Malory's (ca. 1415-1471) most enduring and impactful work; originally titled "The Whole Book of King Arthur and his Noble Knights of the Round Table", Malory intended to retell in English the "entire" Arthurian story from reliable texts, and the work draws primarily on the three major cycles of French Arthurian prose romance, although Malory knew many Arthurian stories and applied them throughout for additional integrity.

The first nine books of Malory's work make up the first volume, with the next twelve in the second volume; at the beginning of each book is a woodcut reproduced from Wynkyn de Worde's (died ca. 1534) folio of 1498. A German immigrant to London, de Worde was an early printer who worked with Caxton, and is credited with popularising the printing press in England, among other innovations of the time; his work has inspired centuries of printers and bibliophiles, with the Wynkyn de Worde Society having been established in Britain in 1957.

___DESCRIPTION: Half red leather with white cloth boards, gilt lettering on the spine, top edge gilt, fore- and bottom edges uncut, marbled endpapers in red, black, and white, title page in red and black, text printed in double columns in red and black throughout, first volume with tissue guard at the half-title page, second volume with tissue guards between nearly every page of the latter half of the book, woodcuts reproduced from Wynkyn de Worde's folio of 1498 at the head of each book; Caslon type, quarto size (10.25" by 7.5"), pagination: The First Volume: [5] [i] ii-xxviii [1-2] 3-316; The Second Volume: [i-iv] [1] 2-373 [374-376], one of 350 copies for sale (of a total edition of 370), this number 143.

___CONDITION: Volumes are near fine, the boards mostly clean with a few light, stray spots of soiling, strong, square text blocks with solid hinges, the corners straight with a bare minimum of rubbing, and the interiors are clean and bright; some faint soiling to the white cloth of the boards, light rubbing to the edges of the board and to the corners, and two prior owner names in flowing hands on the first flyleaf of each volume, one with the date of 1943 and the other dated 1957. Even with its few minor imperfections, still a near fine set of a lovely Shakespeare Head Press publication of this much-loved story.  

___CITATION: Ransom p. 18.

___POSTAGE:  International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.

___Swan's Fine Books is pleased to be a member of the ABAA, ILAB, and IOBA and we stand behind every book we sell. Please contact us with any questions you may have, we are here to help.

Price: $1,200.00

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