New. This is a very handsome, mint, unread, First EditionHARDBACK, Four Courts Press, Portland, OR., 1997, which has a black cloth cover with gilt lettering to the front cover and the spine. The front cover has a scene of tree felling, maybe a depiction of the first moves when making paper! There are many photographs, sketches and facsimiles. The book size is 6.25" w x 9.5" h with notes, an index and 252 pages on beautiful high quality paper. ISBN 1851832097. "William Thynne's Collected Edition of Chaucer: When William Thynne's collected edition of Chaucer's works and other associated poems was finally, printed in 1532 in a bulky folio volume, it represented the achievement of a very ambitious project. Since no such comprehensive edition had previously been attempted, no doubt Thynne faced a sizeable task in assembling so many copy-texts, so miscellaneous in nature, and must have begun collecting them long before and constructing his editorial policy, The book contains forty-one pieces, only a couple of which in the list of contents are directly attributed to Chaucer. and one ('Scogan vnto the yonge lordes and gentylmen of the kynges house') to another author; though the 'Balade to Kyng Henry the fourth' is attributed to Gower in the heading, on fol. CCClxxv. As a result, Thynne has been castigated either for naively accepting so many works as Chaucer's, or for trying to foist onto Chaucer spurious works which modern scholarship has assigned elsewhere and rejected from the canon. However, the concerns of editors and commentators have been almost exclusively textual, and even the most recent intensive work on the book, by James Blodgett, has not looked very deeply into its physical make-up, although the technical processes of production in early printed books may themselves have some implications for the texts they transmit. Like all such objects, Thynne's book is the end product of a train of circumstances, personal, cultural, commercial and material. We should therefore seek to understand it in its context, perhaps as evolving out of a partnership or relationship between editor and printer, in which there were preferences and constraints on each side. Thynne himself was a man of some standing attached to the royal household, in a responsible position of privilege and influence, at a court where Chaucer's work continued to be appreciated. He may well have been stimulated to embark on his project at an early stage in his career, gathering materials and deciding on the scope and procedure of his work over a considerable period of time, in the intervals of his duties. He had resources, and also opportunity, during those years when the impending dissolution of the monasteries made many people (such as Leland) anxious about the fate of the accumulated volumes of their libraries. He seems to have obtained a commission to search libraries in order to obtain materials. ' He was also helped by Sir Brian Tuke, as Francis Thynne notes. -' Tuke, another officer in the royal household, also composed the preface to the edition on behalf of Thynne, writing it in the first person but not signing it in his own name, as if it were Thynne's own work. ' He may have undertaken this good office at a point in 1532 when Thynne was about to embark on a journey to Boulogne on government business, and while the edition was still going through the press, so that production should not be held up. Although the overblown and embellished style may be Tuke's, it is reasonable to assume that the matter and argument are framed according to Thynne's instructions....." ( Pages 150-151 )
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