Canterbury Tales.

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Geoffrey Chaucer


Canterbury Tales.


T. Payne and Son: London


1775, 1778




First printing of this edition, complete in 5 volumes. Errata page for v. 1- 4 in vol. 1 (pp. [xxxvii]-[xxxviii]), errata for vol. 5 on p. [xxviii] in vol. 5. Pp: vol.1: [4], xxxvi, [ii], 310; vol. 2: [iv], 318; vol. 3: [iv], 320; vol. 4: vii, [i], 336; v. 5: [iv], xxvii, [i], 290, [ii].


Two copies of this edition are displayed.  The first in the original publisher's paper covered boards. Leaf size 204 x 127 mm. Signed "Dr. Wheeler 12. 6. 1784" in Vols. I and IV.

The second is also a first printing of the same edition, 5 volumes, 198 x 125 mm, but lavishly bound in 19th century red morocco by Chambolle-Duru.

According to the DNB, Dr. Tyrwhitt (1730-86) "significantly advanced the understanding and appreciation of Chaucer" in this era. His edition was considered in its day to be "'the best-edited English Classic that ever has appeared.'" (DNB, quoting the "Gentleman's Magazine"). Many fine press editions through the mid 20th century used the Tyrwhitt edition as their Middle English text.


From the collection of Stephen Zovickian