No other merit or importance is claimed for this book than that of a compilation; but it is, so far as the writer is aware, the most complete epitome of the Arthurian Legends that has yet been prepared for the use of young readers. More than one modernized version of the work of Sir Thomas Mallory has been published; but every student of the legends will be aware that there were many of which Mallory, in the compilation of his narrative, took no account; and the substance of several of these has been embodied in the present work. For the story of Merlin, recourse has been had to the version of the old romance given by Ellis in his "Early English Metrical Romances." The quaint story of Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight is adapted from the edition of that legend which is included among the publications of the Early English Text Society; while to Lady Charlotte Guest's "Mabinogion" the writer is indebted for the story of Geraint and Enid, and also for the romance of Ewaine and the Lady of the Fountain.
It is obvious that in a single volume of the bulk of the present there could not be included more than a selection from the great mass of legends which during several centuries accumulated round the mighty though shadowy figure of Arthur. The aim of the writer has been to make choice of such of these stories and traditions as were most likely to captivate the imagination or excite the attention of the boy-readers of this generation; to cast them, so far as possible, into the shape of a connected narrative and regular sequence of events; and to preserve so much of the quaint style of Mallory as is consistent with perfect clearness. Whether these objects have been attained, it must be left for critics and readers to pronounce; but the compiler ventures to believe that the book will be found a serviceable introduction to the study of the romances themselves, and of Mallory's famous prose version of them; while it will also assist young readers in the comprehension and appreciation of the Poet Laureate's noble series of poems on Arthurian Legends. In the romances, both in their prose and metrical form, there are occasional allusions and episodes which make them unfit to be placed in the hands of juvenile readers. It is scarcely necessary to say that in the present work nothing of this kind has been retained.
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