Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925. Octavo, original green cloth gilt. No dust jacket. Ink ownership signature to front free endpaper, lightest foxing to first and last leaves. Publisher's errata slip. Item #100156
A beautiful first printing of this critical edition of Middle English classic Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, with editorial commentary by J.R.R. Tolkien, who was named professor of Anglo-Saxon literature at Pembroke College, Oxford, that same year. In The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, foundational works of modern fantasy, Tolkien would draw on the narrative elements of Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. As he and co-editor E.V. Gordon observe, "Sir Gawain is as human as Chaucer or Shakespeare or any modern romance," but the plot's reliance on magic sets it apart. This critical edition was intended for classroom use, and surviving copies are usually found heavily used and marked: this copy is partially unopened and nearly perfect.