KELMSCOTT PRESS The Tale of Beowulf [Done Out of the Old English Tongue by William Morris  & A.J. Wyatt], LIMITED TO 300 COPIES, PRESENTATION COPY FROM WYATT, 1895; and manuscript glossary (2)
Lot 169
KELMSCOTT PRESS The Tale of Beowulf [Done Out of the Old English Tongue by William Morris & A.J. Wyatt], LIMITED TO 300 COPIES, PRESENTATION COPY FROM WYATT, 1895; and manuscript glossary (2)
Sold for £6,250 (US$ 10,505) inc. premium
Lot Details
KELMSCOTT PRESS
The Tale of Beowulf [Done Out of the Old English Tongue by William Morris & A.J. Wyatt], LIMITED TO 300 COPIES, PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY A.J. WYATT ("Travers C. Wyatt, 24 February 1908. A.J.W.") on front free endpaper, printed in red and black, woodcut title-page, facing page with full woodcut page-border, numerous three-quarter and smaller woodcut page-borders, large initials, "Note to Reader" loosely inserted, original limp vellum, green ties (one with small loss), slight staining [Peterson A32], Hammersmith, Kelmscott Press, 1895--WYATT (ALFRED J.) Index to Beowulf, MANUSCRIPT on paper, 23pp. on 20 sheets, WITH CORRECTIONS AND DELETIONS BY WILLIAM MORRIS, cloth, gilt lettered "Beowulf Index" on spine, [c.1894], 4to (2)

Footnotes

  • For Morris Beowulf was "the first and the best poem of the English race". His translation was based on a prose rendering by the Anglo-Saxon scholar Alfred J. Wyatt of Christ's College, with whom he consulted over a two year period. On the opening leaf of the manuscript glossary and index to Beowulf Wyatt notes that it was "submitted to Wm Morris, in whose handwriting the corrections in the glossary are made. He also deleted the great majority of the words, on the ground that he should use them in his modern prose works, & hence a glossary was not needed". The manuscript glossary is written on 9 pages, including a large majority of words deleted by Morris, and so not used in the published version (which listed only 88 words on less than 2 pages). Morris queries several of Wyatt's definitions. For example next to "Undern" he writes "is'nt it afternoon", besides "Wise" he notes "it ought to be wisse i think", and he alters the definition of "Beswinked" to "Sweated" from Wyatt's suggestion of "Harrassed, oppressed". In the first two of these examples Wyatt answers Morris using red ink, and his original definitions are retained in the Kelmscott edition, but for the last Morris's amendment is retained. Also bound in is the index to "Persons & Places". On the opening leaf in distinctive blue pencil is recorded "Prepared for press by Wm. Morris".
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