Nellie Slayton Aurner
PMLA, Vol. 48, No. 2 (1933)
Introduction: “A little less than certain,” is the summing up by Eugene Vinaver of the evidence in regard to the identity of Sir Thomas Malory. The new material recently brought to light by Mr Edward Hicks has practically establish theory presented by Professor Kittredge in the nineties. Of course, since other contemporaries of the same name have been pointed out, it is still possible that an extraordinary group of coincidences may have led to an erroneous conclusion, but the probabilities of this seem slight. One argument supporting this identification has not yet been fully presented. This is the fact the Morte Darthur gives an unmistakable reflection of the impressions which would have stamped themselves on the consciousness of a man living through the events which this Malory of Warwickshire must have experienced. As one of the retinue of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, he would have had his youthful enthusiasm enlisted in the efforts of Henry IV to establish his royal title and quell rebellions against it; he would have had a share in the continental victories of Henry V and have gained a vivid impression of the terrible conditions in France resulting from the savage feuds of the Burgundians and Armagnacs; he would have witnessed the crowning of Henry VI in Pari and probably have been on duty in Rouen at the burning of Jeanne d’Arc.