London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, Paternoster-Row, by Thomas Davison, Whitefriars, 1817. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Two volumes, quarto size,  pp. Near fine. Item #PTTB062
Sir Thomas Malory's (c. 1415-1471) most enduring and impactful work, originally titled "The Whole Book of King Arthur and his Noble Knights of the Round Table". Intended to retell in English the "entire" Arthurian story from reliable texts, it 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. This edition was edited by English librarian William Upcott (1779-1845) after William Caxton's original edition of 1485, supplemented by a section from Wynkyn de Worde's edition of 1498. English poet Robert Southey (1774-1843) provided the scholarly introduction, which includes a history of chivalric romances, discusses the historic Arthur, provides notes on Malory's French sources, and "characterizes the action and values embodied in the story" (Nastali & Boardman). Nineteenth-century medievalism, notably the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, was greatly influenced by this edition of Malory's work, and it rose to new heights, especially after Dante Gabriel Rossetti claimed it as second only to the Bible; in fact, this edition of Malory was used as the basis for the version published in 1913 by the Ashendene Press. This copy has the attractive bookplate of noted collector and member of the Grolier Club, Mr. John William Roy Crawford.
___DESCRIPTION: Contemporaneous half dark-blue morocco, gilt rules and marbled paper covered boards, five raised bands, lettering and flourishes in gilt on backstrip, top-edge gilt, marbled endpapers, woodcut vignettes to title-pages of both volumes, historiated and floriated initials throughout both volumes, Gothic black letter chapter headers and titles, quarto size (10 1/8" by 8"), pagination: Volume I: [half-title, title-page] [i] ii-lxiii (preface) [i] ii-xxxix  2-383; Volume II: [i-iv]  2-495, limited edition although the exact number is uncertain; an edition of 300 copies was advertised, although the Longman archives say that 1,000 were printed (per the bibliography).
___CONDITION: A near fine copy, complete, internally bright with only a few faint damp stains and minor scattered foxing (overall very little for this period), some contemporaneous ink annotations to a few leaves (none obscure text), text block is tight and square, edges are mostly straight having had professional restoration, joints have also been professionally restored, leaving the overall condition of the binding in near fine condition, gilt is bright on the boards though slightly faded at the backstrip; overall a near fine example with notable provenance.
___CITATION: Nastali & Boardman, "The Arthurian Annals," p. 83.
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