"The King who will win the Holy Cross": Malory, Caxton, and Political Prophecy in the Morte Darthur

Kalamazoo 2002, Arnold Sanders, Goucher College

Images and Data from facsimiles of the Winchester Malory Manuscript (after 1470), Caxton's editio princeps, (1485), and the Ellesmere Chaucer Manuscript (15th Century)

The "Holy Cross" Prophecy, "Sextus," Henry VI and Edward IV

Two manuscript versions of the "Holy Cross" prophecy: MS Hatton 56 (c. 1453) and Trinity MS R 3 19, owned by Caxton's contemporary, Richard Thorney (c. 1471-83)

Surviving MSS of the "Holy Cross" prophecy

John Audley's Poem of Henry V and Henry VI as the King ře hole cros wyn or he dye (c. 1429)

Malory in British Library Additional MS 59678, AKA "W."

Rubrication of f. 349r ("Sankgreal")   

Chart of W. Marginalia from C15

Marginal note (misreading the text--Malory's?) 

Comparison of Scribal Index Hands

Non-scribal C15 (?) marginal note at f. 23r, and scribal index for important events 

Non-scribal marginal note at f. 23r used by Caxton in ed. prin. (1485), closeup  (Included in Caxton's ed. prin.)

Caxton's printed edition re: marginal note at f. 23r

Malory on Trystram and the Hunt II (f. 280v. "Amen") (Deleted in Caxton's ed. prin.)

The Rotherly Poem, Ellesmere MS, f. iv r "O thow Roiall Bore" and "Amen" (?1462-4 or 1471-84)

Malory's First Explicit (f. 180v)  (Deleted in Caxton's ed. prin.)

Tom "The Freynsshe Booke" Malory Speaks (chart)

Malory's rejection of the "Holy Cross" prophecy on f. 482v  (Included in Caxton's ed. prin.)

Malory in Caxton's ed. prin. AKA, Kyng Arthur (1485)

Caxton's printed edition of f. 482v with capital (Rubric in Table: "Of thoppynyon of somme men of the deth of kynge Arthur and how quene Guenever made hir a nonne in Almesburye.")

Edward IV geneological roll tracing his descent from Adam and Eve through Arthur and Cadwallader to the Throne of England (Free Library of Philadelphia MS Lewis E201, c. 1461-64)

Edward IV geneological roll closeup: his descent through Arthur to Cadwallader and unifying the seven Saxon kingdoms  (Free Library of Philadelphia MS Lewis E201, c. 1461-64)

Note: all images were captured using a low-resolution digital camera from facsimiles and are not intended to infringe upon the copyright of either edition.  They are for scholarly use only, and they should be properly cited if used in any other way.  The sources are N.R. Ker, ed., The Winchester Malory: A Facsimile.  London: EETS, 1976, and Sir Thomas Malory,  Le Morte D'Arthur  Printed by William Caxton 1485,  Reproduced in facsimile from the copy in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, with an introduction by Paul Needham.  London: Scolar Press, 1976.

Additional Information:

Spreadsheet of W. Marginalia from C15

The pointing hand or index 

Marginal phrase with "shield"

The Rotherly Poem, Ellesmere MS, f. iii v "the Bore of grace" (?1462-4 or 1471-84?)

A-B-C practice in the margins. (Lancelot and Gwenyvere exchange letters with Trystram at Tyntagel, 254v)

Scribal marginal note (last) at Gawayne's death-bed letter to Lancelot absolving him of all responsibility for his death.  

Possible Reader Responses in W. to the "Holy Cross" prophecy:

Richard Followell,  folio 438r

Richard Followell, folio 438v

Edward IV as the "Rose of Rouen" in the Towton Victory Poem (1461)

"Wimser Casell," folio 166v