Winchester Manuscript

Winchester Manuscript

England (United Kingdom) — Ca. 1471–1483

Winchester Manuscript

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Winchester Manuscript

The legend of King Arthur is one of the most famous medieval legends and is inexorably intertwined with British identity. Middle French for "The Death of Arthur", Le Morte d'Arthur, once incorrectly spelled “Le Morte Darthur”, is a 15th century work of Middle English prose by Sir Thomas Malory (ca. 1415–71), which attempts to create a complete version of the Arthurian legend. Malory did this by compiling various French and English sources into what is now one of the best known and most authoritative works of Arthurian literature. It was created during his confinement in Newgate Prison between March 1469 and March 1470. The so-called Winchester Manuscript was discovered in 1934 by Walter Fraser Oakeshott (ca. 1903–87), the headmaster of Winchester College, and was made by two skilled scribes between 1471 and 1483. This discovery showed that the version first published in 1485 by William Caxton was not exactly what Malory had originally written. Furthermore, a microscopic examination revealed that ink smudges on the Winchester manuscript are offsets of newly printed pages set in Caxton's own font, which indicates that the Winchester Manuscript was in Caxton's print shop and would likely have been consulted by him. The Winchester Manuscript is believed to be truer to Malory's original than any of the printed versions and lacks the divisions into books and chapters created by Caxton.


Alternative Titles
Winchester Manuskript
Winchester Malory
Le Morte Darthur by Sir Thomas Malory
Size / Format
968 pages / 28.5 × 20.0 cm
Ca. 1471–1483
Gothic cursive
Le Morte Darthur by Sir Thomas Malory (Compilation of various tales from the Old French and Middle English Arthurian epics and own material)
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Facsimile Editions

#1 The Winchester Malory

Commentary: 1 volume by Neil Ripley
Language: English
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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