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The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer: Compared With…
Geoffrey Chaucer (d. 1400)
London: Printed for B. Lintot, 1721
First edition
PR1851 U7 1721

John Urry’s intent was to establish an authoritative text for Chaucer, but he altered the text wherever he thought that he could better achieve the essential mood established by Chaucer. A later editor of Chaucer wrote of Urry’s edition, “Mr. Urry’s edition should never be opened by any one for the purpose of studying Chaucer.” Maybe not, but the illustrations in this edition have often been reprinted.

John Urry’s illustrated folio edition of Chaucer’s work contains three previously unpublished tails: “The Coke’s Tale of Gamelyn,” “The Merchant’s Second Tale,” and “The Adventure of the Pardoner and Tapster at the Inn at Canterbury.” The edition includes a preface, a Life of Chaucer, and a glossary of Middle English terms. Urry died before the edition was finished. It was completed by others before publication.

The thirty copper-engraved illustrations include portraits of Chaucer by Vertue and Urry by Pigue, the pilgrims (set within the text), a title page vignette (Chaucer’s tomb), the pilgrims leaving the Tabard Inn, and woodcut initials and head and tail pieces throughout.