Canterbury Tales


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Item#: 127218 price:$4,800.00

Canterbury Tales
Canterbury Tales
Canterbury Tales


CHAUCER (TYRWHITT, Thomas, editor). The Canterbury Tales. London: T. Payne, 1775-78. Five volumes. Octavo, early 19th-century full navy straight-grain morocco, elaborately blind-tooled spines, raised bands, all edges gilt. $4800.

First Tyrwhitt edition of Chaucer’s classic—"the best-edited English Classic that ever has appeared"—handsomely bound in full morocco-gilt. From the esteemed collection of Frederic Perkins, with his engraved armorial bookplates.

In preparing his groundbreaking edition, Tyrwhitt consulted roughly 25 manuscripts of Chaucer's Tales. "Tyrwhitt's edition has enjoyed the highest reputation, and the estimation in which it has been held is in great part deserved, and ought to be permanent" (Child). "It was considered 'the best-edited English Classic that ever has appeared,' and Professor Skeat in his edition (1894) speaks of it 'as a work of high literary value, to which I am greatly indebted for many necessary notes.' As late as 1891, his notes and glossary were condensed and arranged under the text in the edition of Chaucer in Sir John Lubbock's Hundred Books" (DNB). With an essay on Chaucer's language and versification, as well as an introduction, notes and a glossary volume, published three years after the four volumes containing the Tales themselves, all by Tyrwhitt. From the library of Frederic Perkins (1780-1860), noted as an important English literature collector in De Ricci, English Collectors of Books and Manuscripts, with his armorial bookplate. "[Perkins] started collecting books about 1820 and left his library to his second son George who died in 1879. A portion, chiefly musical, was sold by auction in London… 17 July 1861, and a second sale, rich in Shakespeare quartos and folios took place… on 10 July 1889" (University of Toronto Libraries).

A beautifully bound set of this important edition, with distinguished provenance, in fine condition.

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