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    The injuries of time: Geoffrey Chaucer, Thomas Speght, and Wade’s boat
    TRIGG, STEPHANIE ( 2008)
    The State Library at Melbourne holds a wonderful collection of early Chaucer editions: two leaves from William Caxton’s editions of The Canterbury Tales (from 1478 and 1483), and a more substantial group of relatively rare sixteenth- and seventeenth-century editions. Starting with this impressive group, it is possible to use the Melbourne collection to track the major stages in the long history of editing and printing Chaucer, through John Urry’s lavish but inaccurate edition of 1721, the more scholarly text of Thomas Tyrwhitt in five volumes (1775-78), the numerous texts of various works produced by Frederick J. Furnivall for the Chaucer Society in the late nineteenth century, and the beautiful Kelmscott Chaucer of 1896, printed by William Morris and incorporating wood-cuts designed by Edward Burne-Jones, through to the scholarly and student editions of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. These editions often differ considerably from each other. Not only have critical opinions varied substantially over the centuries as to the best manuscripts and the best methods of presenting Chaucer’s work, but the audience and the use anticipated for each edition (for different generations of general readers, scholars or students) also affects the nature of the prefatory material and the commentaries, notes and glossaries that surround the text.