The Edward Corbould Illustrations
Tyrwhitt, Thomas, ed. Edward Corbould, illus. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. from the Text and with the Notes and Glossary of Thomas Tyrwhitt. Condensed and Arranged Under the Text. G. Routledge and Co., 1854. Engraved by the Dalzell Brothers.
The Coubould illustrations were included in numerous printings by Routledge and even more printings and editions edited by Thomas Wright. They were used and reused for about forty years by a number of publishers, and it is possible that they engraved and re-engraved at least four times. Thank’s to Lorraine Stock, my favorite Corbould illustration is the one for “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” on page 447 of this edition. After sending her copies of the Corbould images. She asked if I knew, “what aspect of the Nun’s Priest’s tale the attached picture illustrates? I can’t figure it out. ” I hadn’t paid any attention to the illustration until she asked the question, and now I also wonder what part of “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” it is supposed to be illustrating.
I checked other other Routledge editions, and it was a very long time before Routledge stopped including it. The other publishers who included the Corbould illustrations in their Thomas Wright editions never did stop using it. So, is it just my lack of knowledge about the tale, or did Corbould goof because he didn’t know the tale, the Dalzell Brothers goof because it was meant to be in another book or attached to another tale, or Routledge goof and this engraving was supposed to be illustrating another tale? And if the problem is with the Dalzell Brothers or the publisher, with which tale should this picture by placed?