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The workes of Geffrey Chaucer, newlie printed, with dyvers workes whiche were never in print before: as in the table more playnly dothe appere.]
London: by Thomas Godfray, 1532 - Folio (312 x 213 mm). Contemporary blind-tooled calf lifted from the original binding and relaid on heavy boards and rebacked to style (a pencilled note dates the restoration 1946), the sides panelled with a stylised wheatsheaf roll and a decorative roll incorporating heads, the fore edges showing the marks where clasps and catches were formerly attached. Early ownership inscriptions of John Rappe in French, one in The Romaunt of the Rose (foot of sig. 2E3v) dated 8 June 1583; early ownership inscriptions of Ro: Tirell (=Tyrell) at head of The Canterbury Tales part-title and again at head of The Knight's Tale, and of Thomas Lanham at foot of Troylus and Creseyde part-title; some early underlines and contemporary marginalia throughout; front free endpaper with pencilled note (in the hand of Lord Kenyon?) stating that the book was bought at the sale of Captain Walter Tyrell's books, Christie's 1891; modern bookplate of Robert S. Pirie. A few minor marks or stains, last leaf with paper restoration at upper outer corner and loss of part of the foliation number and just touching one letter of the colophon, a very good copy. 394 (of 397) leaves (lacking A1–3, supplied in good quality facsimile). Black letter, text in double columns. 20 woodcut illustrations from 15 blocks, section-titles within woodcut compartments (McKerrow & Ferguson 19) for "The Romaunt of the Rose," "Troylus and Creseyde," "Boetius de consolatione philosophie," "How Pite is Ded and Beried in a Gentyll Hert," and "The Testament of Love," all with continuous foliation and signatures, QQ3 cancelled as usual and replaced by four leaves incorporating Robert Henryson's Testament of Criseyde. First complete collected edition of Chaucer and the first attempt to collect into a single volume the complete writings of an English author. The Canterbury Tales alone had been first printed by Caxton, first without and then with woodcuts, before Pynson attempted something like a collected edition in three separate publications of c.1526, but Godfray's publication "was the first attempt at a critical edition and for over 200 years provided the standard text of The Canterbury Tales" (Hayward). Only The Canterbury Tales is illustrated: the cuts of the Knight and Squire are copies from Pynson's 1526 edition (Hodnett 2066, 2067), while the remaining 13 were cut for Caxton's 1483 edition (Hodnett 214–236). The editor was William Thynne, clerk of the kitchen and of the green cloth to Henry VIII, and recipient of numerous grants and appointments. Thynne provides the first printed editions of a number of Chaucer's major works in verse and prose, including The Book of the Duchess, The Legend of Good Women, Boece, and The Treatise on the Astrolabe. He also printed a large number of works not by Chaucer, including poems by John Lydgate, Thomas Hoccleve, Richard Roos, and Robert Henryson, giving the volume an additional if accidental value as a poetical miscellany. The introductory materials to the edition, which include the first life of Chaucer and a genealogy, are prefaced by an unsigned dedication to Henry VIII by Sir Brian Tuke, the king's secretary, arguing for the poet's pivotal role in the development of the English language. The publisher Thomas Godfray was associated with some of the more radical propagandists of the Tudor revolution and Thynne's edition began a gradual process in the 16th century by which Chaucer was established both as the father of English poetry and claimed for the nation as a proto-Reformer, so that John Foxe the martyrologist would eventually acclaim him as "a right Wycliffian". In its care and attention lavished on primarily secular literature, it also provided the model for the folio editions of the Jacobean dramatists. This is much the most complete copy to have appeared in commerce in the past 40 years. The only other substantially complete copy in that period was the William Morris–Richard Bennett–Michael Tompkinson–Albert May Todd copy, lacking six leav
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2016-03-19           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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