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Chaucer, Geoffrey, 1340?-1400.
The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer: To Which are Added an Essay on his Language and Versification, and an Introductory Discourse, Together with Notes and a Glossary by the late Thomas Tyrwhitt. Second Edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1798. 2 Volumes.
Call Number: (SPL) PR 1866 .T8 1798x
Special Collections, Golda Meir Library

The Reves Tale

The work of Thomas Tyrwhitt in this edition, first appearing in 1775, parallels the work of Thomas Newton in his 1749 edition of Milton's Paradise Lost. The objectives were identical: the establishment of an authoritative text without editorial emendation based upon the most reliable of source material.

While Urry had also sought to establish an authoritative text, his editorial principles allowed him to alter the text as he saw best to achieve the "feeling" established by Chaucer. Tyrwhitt strove to include only words, phrases and punctuation that Chaucer used himself. He also established the order of the tales which differed substantially from editor to editor. Tyrwhitt himself wrote of Urry's edition, "Mr. Urry's edition should never be opened by any one for the purpose of studying Chaucer."

Tyrwhitt's work is considered a landmark in Chaucer editorial practice, and falls short by today's standards only in that his text brings together a smattering of different dialects from different dates and localities and therefore becomes a somewhat artificial text, not the dialect of Chaucer in fourteenth century London.

The edition shown is the second edition published in memorial to Tyrwhitt who died in 1786.


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