By Kenneth Sisam, J. R. R. Tolkien
This hugely revered anthology of medieval English literature positive factors a number of well-chosen extracts of poetry and prose, including popular stories from Arthurian legend and classical mythology, in addition to the allegorical poem "Piers Plowman" and John Wycliffe's translation of the Bible. comprises notes on each one extract, appendices, and an in depth thesaurus by means of J. R. R. Tolkien.
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Priscilla Melvill, who appeared unstable in 1833 as she lay bedridden in Boston after the death of the family patriarch, Maj. Thomas Melvill, the previous September. The son Allan Melvill had died in January. On 20 February 1833 Lemuel Shaw wrote to Maria describing the grandmother's condition: "Mrs. [Priscilla] Melvill had been confined to her chamber for several weeks. " 16 Other Melvills had difficulties of various kinds. 17 Melville's niece Lucy, brother Allan Melville's daughter, was committed to Bloomingdale asylum in the 1870s and died there in 1885.
Readers for the University of Iowa Press have made many useful recommendations for improving the manuscript, the shortcomings of which reflect my own. I wish to thank also various individuals at Kansas State University for their interest and assistance: William L. Stamey, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Henry J. Donaghy, former Head of the English Department, for a sabbatical leave during which I wrote the first draft; Robert F. Kruh, former dean of the Graduate College and the Bureau of General Research, for travel grants; and the librarians in Farrell Library, particularly Katherine Coleman and Cynthia Logan of the interlibrary loan department, for much-needed assistance in obtaining copies of rare mid-nineteenth-century works.
As the parents were upper middle class, intelligent, and well educated, they regarded their goals and hopes as reasonable and therefore attainable. Whether they were or not, the Melvills fell short. Complications appeared. Allan was an importer in a highly competitive business. He worked twelve-hour days in his store on Pearl Street close to the wharves and came home at night to a woman equally dedicated to responsibilities as a wife, mother, and matron. As a new baby was added to the family every two years, Allan had to provide for bigger and better homes and increased expenses for care of the children and for schools and servants.