A Festschrift in Honour of A.V.C. Schmidt
Malory’s Fyleloly: The Origin and Meaning of a Name
← 86 | 87 → P.J.C. FIELD
This essay might never have come into being if it had not been for Carl Schmidt. In the 1970s, I published a book on Malory based on my research thesis and, as I thought, finished with Malory. I was considering the research attractions of seventeenth-century satire when Carl invited me to edit the last two tales of Malory’s Morte Darthur for what became Hodder and Stoughton’s London Medieval and Renaissance Series, of which he was general editor. That led later to my revising Eugène Vinaver’s three-volume Oxford English Texts Works of Sir Thomas Malory. That project made me dissatisfied with Vinaver’s principles, which led to my editing the Morte Darthur again, in an edition that is in press as I write. This long involvement with the text of the Morte Darthur has made me very aware of the ways in which difficult passages in older texts may be able to be clarified if close consideration of their precise form is combined with setting the work in its social and intellectual background. Carl himself has frequently shown how this should be done, notably in his admired edition of the B-text of Piers Plowman. In the following consideration of a textual crux in the Morte Darthur, I attempt to do the same.
For seventy years, it has been one of the fixed points of Malory scholarship that Malory transformed the Arthurian world of his mainly French major sources by the frequency with which...
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