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Malory image

Sir Thomas Malory (fl. 1470)
Thys noble and joyous book entitled le morte Darthur…
Westminster: William Caxton, 31 July 1485
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1911
PML 17560, ChL 1782
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Caxton, England's first printer, published about a hundred items at his shop in the precincts of Westminster Abbey, including first editions of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Malory's Morte d'Arthur. Both books play an important role in the development of English literature, yet posterity has treated one more kindly than the other. Copies of the Canterbury Tales are comparatively accessible (albeit in various states of disrepair), but the Morte d'Arthur survives in only two copies, and only this one is complete. Anyone who studies the stories of King Arthur and wants to know about the text must consult the printed version along with the only known manuscript, discovered in 1934.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.