(Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1892). 285 x 210 mm. (11 1/2 x 8 1/4"). v, , 162,  pp.Edited by H. Halliday Sparling. ONE OF 300 COPIES on paper (and 10 on vellum).
Original limp vellum, three (of six) silk ties, gilt titling on spine, edges untrimmed. Elaborate woodcut title, elaborate border on first page of text, decorative woodcut initials and marginal decoration on most pages, woodcut device in colophon. Printed in red and black in Troy type. Front flyleaf WITH A PRESENTATION INSCRIPTION FROM WILLIAM MORRIS TO EIRIKR MAGNÚSSON, dated April 12, 1893. Peterson A-10; Sparling 10; Tomkinson, p. 110. Vellum lightly soiled, spine a bit darkened (with gilt lettering dulled), internally not as bright as some copies, a few additional trivial defects, but the text quite fresh, and the copy otherwise perfectly pleasing.
This is an excellent association copy of the Kelmscott edition of Caxton's enduringly popular translation, and one particularly admired by Morris. In a note for the Quaritch catalogue, Morris wrote that "Reynard" was "one of the very best of [Caxton's] works as to style; and being translated from a kindred tongue as delightful as mere language. In its rude joviality, and simple and direct delineation of character, it is a thoroughly good representative of the famous Beast Epic." Reynard the Fox is the hero of a number of popular fables or "bestiaries," first put into a collected form entitled the "Roman de Renart" in 13th century France. Reynard and his animal friends (typically including, among others, a wolf, lion, cat, cock, and rook) mimic human behavior with all its follies, supplying obvious pleasurable edification to the reader. In a typical tale, the fox represents the man who victimizes others and is brought to judgment, yet escapes punishment through the use of his cunning. The provenance here is especially distinguished: Icelandic scholar and Cambridge librarian Eirikr Magnússon (1833-1913) was the man who taught William Morris Old Norse, and assisted him with his translations of the Icelandic sagas, including "The Story of Sigurd the Volsung," published by the Kelmscott Press in 1897. In 1871, Magmisson and his wife accompanied Morris to their homeland, where the two men toured various sites from the sagas. (CBJ1708)
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PJP Catalog: IKPD21.003