The Merchant's Tale. Nevill Coghill trans, Derek Cousins.
The Merchant's Tale.

The Merchant's Tale.

London: Lion and Unicorn Press, 1960. Quarto. Bound in original pictorial gilt stamped and blocked white cloth, with black blocked lettering to the spine. 132pp. Illustrated by Derek Cousins. Edition limited to 200 copies. This volume reproduces the text of both the original Middle English, from the 1868-79 edition of the Ellesmere Manuscript, and a translation into modern English by Neville Coghill. The two texts are cleverly presented together; rather than laying the two versions out as a standard parallel text, Coghill’s translation has been printed on both sides of sewn-in half pages, with Chaucer’s Middle English appearing on the full page underneath in a double column. Printed in Scotch Roman type and designed by Thomas Simmonds. From the library of typographer and printing historian John Lewis (1912-1996). Lewis’ bookplate (‘Ex Libris | John Lewis | FSIA’) is neatly affixed to the front paste-down. Item #24

Nevill Coghill, who was Merton Professor of English Literature at Oxford from 1957 to 1966, was a significant contributor to Chaucer scholarship; his rendition of 'The Canterbury Tales', from which the present issue of 'The Merchant’s Tale' is taken, remains the standard Penguin translation into Modern English. But Coghill is perhaps better remembered for boozin’ with Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the other Inklings at the Eagle and the Child.

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