The preface to this scholarly volume is not shy of stating its ambitious aim: "...to provide a comprehensive history of the literature of England ... at once scholarly and readable, capable of meeting the needs of mature students and of appealing to cultivated readers generally". This is the first of four volumes, which cover the period from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, and it deals with the Middle Ages (i.e. all works dating from before 1100, up to 1500). With an ink-written dedication to 'Professor H J Chaytor' on the front free endpaper, and the fact that a couple of dog-eared pages are within the 'Romance' section, one may perhaps deduce that the good Professor had a particular interest in that literary genre. Henry John Chaytor (1871–1954), British academic, classicist and hispanist, was Master of St Catharine's College, Cambridge from 1933 to 1946.
Albert Croll Baugh (1891–1981) was a Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, and is best known as the author of the "History of the English Language", published in 1935 and praised as "worthy to take a place with the other great histories of single languages".
Kemp Malone (1889-1971) was a prolific medievalist, etymologist, philologist, and specialist in Chaucer, who was Lecturer and then Professor of English Literature at Johns Hopkins University from 1924 to 1956.
Our book is in good condition, the only sign of use being the two dog-eared leaves at pp.177/8 and 185/6. Bound in dark-blue cloth with the publisher's motif blind-stamped on the front, and titles etc in faded gilt on the spine, it shows only signs of wear compatible with its age - bumped corners with no frank damage, some wear at top & bottom of the spine, and a few pale stains on the spine. Inside, the rough-cut pages are all clean and bright, and the ink-written dedication is on the front fep. No other signed copies appear to be available at this time.