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'Truthe is the beste'

A Festschrift in Honour of A.V.C. Schmidt


Edited By Nicolas Jacobs and Gerald Morgan

The thirteen essays in this book, presented in honour of Dr A.V.C. (Carl) Schmidt, are designed to reflect the range of his interests. Dr Schmidt, who was a Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford from 1972 until his retirement in 2011, is best known for his comprehensive four-text edition of Piers Plowman, the fruit of a lifetime’s work on that text. He has also made a major contribution to the study of Chaucer and the medieval English contemplatives, and these authors also find a place in this collection. The essays presented here are intended to build upon the legacy of Carl Schmidt’s exemplary scholarship.
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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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