I'm trying to find a difference between two Le Morte d'Arthur editions.

In the introduction to 1886 edition, it is stated that the text is abridged (page xxxiv):

Malory's Book really resolves itself into three great divisions: first, the history of King Arthur proper; second, the romances of Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram de Lyoness [...]; and third, the Quest of the Grail. In the present version it has been thought well to omit the second of these two divisions, which it is proposed to afterwards issue as a volume by itself, complementary to this of King Arthur and the Quest of the Grail.

Then, I made a table with side-by-side comparison between 1886 and 1956 editions. As I expected, the 1886 edition omits a lot of "Books".

But, I also discovered, that there are two mysterious "Books", preserved in 1886, but omitted in 1956 edition. Here they are:

transcription below

Book title: The book of Elaine
Page: 225

Thus it passed forth until our Lady-day, the assumption, and within fifteen days of that feast, King Arthur let cry a great joust and tournament that should be at that day in Camelot, that is, Winchester : and the kind let cry that he, and the King of Scotland, would joust against all that would come against them. And when this cry was made, thither came many knights : so there came thither the king of Northgalis, and King Anguish of Ireland, and the king with the hundred knights, and Sir Galihud, the

transcription below

Book title: The book of the Queen's Maying
Page: 253

And this it passed on from Candlemas until after Easter, that the month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit. For, like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit, and flourish in May, in likewise every lusty heart, that is in any manner a lover, springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds ; for it giveth unto all lovers courage that lusty month of May in some thing, for to constrain him in some manner of thing, more in that month than in any other

The question: Why these "Books" are omitted in 1956 edition?

The full table in Word: https://ufile.io/ffoeu


1 Answer 1


As Gibet pointed out*, The Book of Elaine is just a cutting in the text of the book XVIII, precisely a cut in the middle of the chapter VIII, i.e. page 283 in the 1956 edition.

The same way, The Book of Queen's Maying starts in the same place with book XVIII, chapter XXV (How true love is likened to summer), i.e. page 314 in the 1956 edition.


* It was pointed out in comments. Comments are now removed.

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