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Versions of Chaucer Old and New

One of the fascinations of a large Special Collections is discovering and building upon the interconnections between existing strengths. The Kelmscott Chaucer is a pinnacle of fine printing, the masterpiece of William Morris' press, published in 1896, and a visitor to the Library can compare it not only to other books issued by the Kelmscott Press but also to the Speght edition of Chaucer's works, printed in 1598. Further demonstrating cross-currents is the Obelisk Press edition of 1936 of Chaucer's "La priere de Nostre Dame" (commonly referred to as the ABC). The initial letters are designed and illuminated by Lucia Joyce, daughter of James Joyce, whose works form a major aspect of the Library's collection of twentieth century Irish literature.

  • Geoffrey Chaucer, d. 1400.
    The Workes of our Antient and Learned English poet Geffrey Chaucer, newly printed. London: Printed by Adam Islip, at the charges of Bonham Norton, 1598.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, d. 1400.
    The works of Geoffrey Chaucer, now newly imprinted. Upper Mall, Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, d. 1400.
    A Chaucer A. B. C.: being a hymn to the Holy Virgin in an English version. Paris: Obelisk Press, 1936.
Chaucer cover
The Workes of our Antient
and Learned English poet Geffrey
Chaucer...
, 1598.
Chaucer illustration
The Workes of our Antient
and Learned English poet Geffrey
Chaucer...
, 1598.

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10/28/09

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