Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur (1469-70) is one of the most important literary works written in Middle English prose, and has continued to fascinate readers throughout the centuries. It exists in two considerably different primary versions, the Winchester manuscript (British Library, Add. MS 59678), and two extant copies of William Caxton's printed edition (1485): a complete copy in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, and a copy lacking eleven leaves, in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester.
This project will for the first time provide users with high quality colour images of Winchester. The images were captured by a team of experts in digitization from the HUMI Project led by Director Professor Toshiyuki Takamiya and Technical Director Professor Masaaki Kashimura in 2003, and will be published by courtesy of © The British Library Board. Significant scholarship has been built on the physical aspects of Winchester which have so far been inaccessible: the use of colour, the vellum leaf used to repair the manuscript, the traces of printer's ink on several pages, the watermarks, or the dry-point glosses. Publication of these images will benefit Malory and manuscript scholars, serve teaching purposes, and aid the preservation of the original manuscript.
The project also aims at creating an expandable associative environment, with facsimiles and texts of Malory's Morte Darthur interlinked, enabling the user to view them alongside one another. The Caxton images were also captured in colour by a digitization team in the John Rylands University Library, financially supported by the DARC. The images will be published by courtesy of © The University Librarian and Director, John Rylands University Library, The University of Manchester. Transcriptions are encoded in TEI P5-compliant XML, and will be fully searchable. The texts and facsimiles are complemented by footnotes, commentaries, and other supporting information, designed to provide a wrapper for the core material.