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CHAUCER, Geoffrey (1340?--1400)
[Works. 1721]
The works of Geoffrey Chaucer, compared with the former editions, and many valuable MSS. Out of which, three tales are added which were never before printed; by John Urry, student of Christ-Church, Oxon. deceased: together with a glossary, by a student of the same college. To the whole is prefixed the author's life, newly written, and a preface, giving an account of this edition.
London: printed for Bernard Lintot, 1721.
[52], 626, 81, [1] p., engr. frontis. port., [1] pl. (port.) : [27] engr. illus. ; 39.6 cm. (2º)

First edition of Urry's Chaucer, and the first edition of Chaucer's collected works in roman type. In his version of Chaucer's text, Urry lengthened and shortened Chaucer's words to suit his own views of the metre, in some cases even adding words of his own, but this edition is important as the first in nearly a century and a half to be founded on a return to manuscript sources. The licence and privilege to for exclusive printing for fourteen years printed on leaf n2v is dated 20 July 1714. Urry was encouraged to undertake the task by Francis Atterbury, then Dean of Christ Church, and assigned the patent to Linton who issued proposals to publish in June 1716 (ESTC t222777). The work, left unfinished at Urry's death in March 1715, was continued by his assistant Thomas Ainsworth, after whose death in 1719 the final revision and completion were entrusted to Timothy Thomas, who wrote the preface and glossary; the life of Chaucer, originally written by John Dart, was revised and altered by William Thomas. The portrait of Chaucer is engraved by George Vertue after Thomas Occleve, and the frontispiece portrait of Urry is engraved by N. Pigné. With an engraved title-page vignette of Chaucer's tomb, and 27 engravings of the pilgrims in the text, including one printed at the end of the Contents (leaf n1r) with a note reading 'N.B. The followning [sic] Cut should have been placed before the Rhime of Sir Thopaz'. The additional tales are: 'The Coke's Tale of Gamelyn', 'The Merchant's Second Tale', and 'The Adventure of the Pardoner and Tapster at the Inn at Canterbury'. ESTC n66255; Lowndes, 426; CBEL I: 208; Alston III.35.

Copy Notes Soane bought a copy of Urry's Chaucer from Thomas Boone for 12s., 11 July 1806 (paid 16 July), and apparently exchanged for another copy, presumably the present one, from the same bookseller on 16 July 1807 at the higher price of 18s. (Spiers Box). Inscribed in ink on front pastedown Dr Carleton. Former stencilled ownership stamp with monogram 'GS' under a flaming heart and coronet, partly obscured by Soane library label. The design of the monogram is similar to the 'GS' binding stamp of the Shakespearean editor George Steevens, whose library was sold after his death in 1800; see Bibliotheca Steevensiana. A catalogue of the curious and valuable library of George Steevens, ... Which will be sold by auction, ... by Mr. King, ... on Tuesday, May 13, 1800, ... ([London]: printed by J. Barker, [1800]). A copy of this edition of Chaucer formed lot 803 at the sale, but work remains to be done to identify the ownership stamp in the present volume.

Binding C18th sprinkled calf, gilt double-ruled borders, gilt-tooled spine, red morocco spine-label.

Reference Number 3885


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