New acquisitions spotlight: Malory’s History of King Arthur (1634)

Echoes from the Vault

Title page and woodcut frontispiece of the first book of the 1634 edition of Malory's Morte d'Arthur Title page and woodcut frontispiece of St Andrews’ copy of the first book of the 1634 edition of Malory’s Morte d’Arthur

The Most Ancient and Famous History of the Renowned Prince Arthur King of Britaine was the last seventeenth-century edition of Thomas Malory’s great medieval prose romance, the Morte Darthur. After it, no new edition was printed until the early nineteenth century. This, therefore, was the Malory of Milton, of the romantic poets and of Walter Scott, who recorded owning a copy as a boy.

Detail of the woodcut of King Arthur literally in his roundtable, used in the 1634 edition of Malory's Morte d'Arthur. Detail of the woodcut of King Arthur literally in his roundtable, used in the 1634 edition of Malory’s Morte d’Arthur.

Detail of the imprint of the 1634 edition of Morte d'Arthur Detail of the imprint of the 1634 edition of Morte d’Arthur

The volume was printed by William Stansby for the stationer Jacob Blome in 1634. It represents a break with previous early modern editions, all of which descended from William Caxton’s…

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Considerations Upon the Union… “from the will and humour of the people”

Echoes from the Vault

As we approach the fevered climax of the Scottish independence referendum, we thought it would be interesting to compare this situation with the debate surrounding the mirror-image of this referendum, when the Articles of Union were under discussion by the Scottish parliament in late 1706.

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A particularly striking feature of the current debate, of course, is that it has been marked by an almost unheard-of engagement of the people in the street. There is realistic expectation of an extraordinarily high turn-out at the polls; for once, the debate seems almost to have been lifted out of the hands (or mouths) of the politicians, and is being conducted on the street corner, in the workplace, in pubs and coffee shops. People seem not to be following slavish adherence to party, but are individually informed, and are making personal decisions based on those issues which matter to them most. This is possible…

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