LONDON : PUBLISHT FOR THE EARLY ENGLISH TEXT SOCIETY, BY KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO., LTD. To the first period belongs the work of the Welsh bards and the pseudo- historic Latin chroniclers, Nennius and Geoffrey of Monmouth. Les Manuscrits fran Qois de la Bibliotheque du Roi. 1 In the history of the cycle we may distinguish with more or less accuracy three periods 2 a period of preparation, a period of production, a period of translation and imitation.
And even then we may seriously question whether a thoroughly consistent history of this or of any of the other romances of the Arthurian cycle can ever be written. She tolg gistorg 0) Jjfog A PROSE ROMANCE (ABOUT 1450-1460 A. The French versions (with two or three exceptions) bear no date, and afford scarcely any guide to the chronology. After the collations arrived I found that an adequate treatment of the language of the romance would unduly delay the publication of the other portion of the work. Furnivall, who furnished me while in Paris with several much needed books, and has since attended to numerous details that could not easily be superintended at a distance of three thousand miles. The Welsh literature the only Celtic source that we can seriously consider is scanty and of not too convincing antiquity. t, the Latin sources is doubtful ; and even the Latin sources at most provide an explanation for only a portion of the romance. But the fact that the entire romance as printed by the Early English Text Society had to be collated once more with the English manuscript, compelled me to defer that portion of the work, and to confine my attention almost wholly to literary questions. Myrdhinn ou TEnchanteur Merlin, son histoire, ses osuvres, son influence. Merlin ; or, The Early History of King Arthur : a Prose Romance (about 1450-1460), edited from the unique MS. \ STUDIA IN / This book belongs to THE LIBRARY rf VICTORIA UNIVERSITY Toronto 5, Canada NOV 6 1940 THE BOOKSHELF L crltn Ot| istorg 0f giiig Arthur. Only two manuscripts of the Merlin 1 have been published, unless we include the early printed editions of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It is perhaps unnecessary to remark that without the aid of the researches of Francisque Michel, Paulin Paris, Gaston Paris, H. So much, too, remains yet to be done in the way of special investigation of the Arthurian romances, that I can at most regard this account as a mere passing contribution to the history of the Merlin legend. Oscar Kuhns, who read a portion of the proof, and trans- lated Professor Novati's note on Arthur's fight with the great cat of Lausanne; to Mr, E. Numerous delays, which need not be explained here, have hindered the appearance of the book until now. ccl-ccliv take account of later work on various matters connected with the Merlin legend.
The manuscripts are numerous and still unclassified as to age and generic relations. I have, therefore, attempted nothing more than to cite a few of the countless instances where French words have been transferred almost without change to the English translation. Ward, Alfred Nutt, and others, a considerable part of this outline could not have been written. in the British Museum, who discussed with me the earlier forms of the legend and read some of the proof ; to my colleague Professor Jj. Phillimore, who read the proofs of the chapter on the early forms of the legend, and supplied several valuable notes ; and most of all to Dr. I may add that the proofs of all the extracts from the French manuscripts have been read in Paris while I have been in America, so that the accuracy of the specimens is to be credited to the MS. The greater portion of the present investigation was com- pleted in 1892, and placed in tlie hands of the printers.
From the first introduction of the Arthurian legends into French literature they caught the popular favour, and stimulated writers to an unwonted activity for a period embracing a well-rounded century, beginning toward the middle of the twelfth century and ending before the close of the thirteenth.
OF THE great cycles of mediaeval romance none was more popular throughout Europe than the Arthurian cycle.
These old printed versions, it is needless to say, are exceedingly rare as well as uncritical, presenting a later, modernized text, and taking numerous liberties with the earlier versions. If this sketch can in any way serve to incite other scholars to a more careful study of French romance in its relations to our older English literature, I shall welcome the day when my own work is superseded. But the most important part of the following discussion the account of the MSS.
These difficulties might be dwelt upon at greater length, but enough has been advanced to show the necessity of extreme caution in our assertions. It remains for me sincerely to thank those who have in any way aided in these researches. in the Bibliotheque de TArsenal and the Bibliotheque Rationale in Paris ; to M. is quite independent of any work that has recently appeared.
An essay on the influence of Welsh tradition upon the literature of Germany, France, and Scandinavia.