Early English Text Society

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A page of the Blickling Homilies in facsimile; Morris, Richard (ed. and trans.), The Blickling Homilies of the Tenth Century: From the Marquis of Lothian's Unique MS. A.D. 971, (Early English Text Society, o.s., 58, 63, 73.) London: Trübner, 1874–80; plate before p. 1

The Early English Text Society is a text publication society dedicated to the reprinting of early English texts, especially those only available in manuscript. Most of its volumes contain editions of Middle English or Old English texts. It was founded in England in 1864 by Frederick James Furnivall. Its stated goal in a report of the first year of their existence was "on the one hand, to print all that is most valuable of the yet unprinted MSS. in English, and, on the other, to re-edit and reprint all that is most valuable in printed English books, which from their scarcity or price are not within the reach of the student of moderate means."[1] It is known for having been the first to print many important English manuscripts, including Cotton Nero A.x, which contains Pearl, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and other poems.

As of 2015, the Society had published 344 volumes in its Original Series; 126 volumes in its Extra Series, published between 1867 and 1935, comprising texts previously printed, but only in unsatisfactory or rare editions; and 25 volumes in its Supplementary Series, an occasional and irregular series initiated in 1970. The Society keeps the majority of its older publications in print, excepting only those which have been superseded by subsequent editions in its own series. Volumes are currently published on behalf of the Society by Oxford University Press.[2]

Famous members of the society when it was formed in 1864 include Furnivall himself, Alfred Tennyson (poet laureate), Warren de la Rue (inventor of the lightbulb), Richard Chenevix Trench (Irish ecclesiastic), Stephen Austin (a Hertford-based printer), Edith Coleridge (granddaughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge), the Rev. Richard Morris (the editor of 12 volumes between 1862 and 1880), and others.

The Society emblem is a modified representation of the Anglo-Saxon Alfred Jewel, incorporating a scroll bearing the name of the Society.

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  1. ^ "Report of the Committee, January, 1865". Project Gutenberg. 4 Nov 2005. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "List of Publications 2015" (PDF). Early English Text Society. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 

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