"It is to be hoped that the purpose of this book is sufficiently
explained in the text and the preface need therefore be occupied
with nothing but thanks where thanks, so far as I can recall, are
due. But I cannot promise to remember all my debts, and I am well
aware, like the philosopher, that 'if I had succeeded in owing more, I
might then perhaps have gained more of a claim to be original'.
Of unambiguous debts my first is naturally to the Delegates of
the Clarendon Press and to the skilled and patient anonymities who
serve  them;  then  to  Dom  André  Wilmart,  O.S.B.,  for  careful
criticisms of the first two chapters; to Professor C. C. J. Webb for
his  helpful  interest  in  the  second;  to  the  Medieval  Society  of
Manchester University (and specially to Professor Vinaver) for their
kind hearing and useful discussion of the third; to Dr. C.T. Onions
for  subjecting  my  attempts  at  Middle  English  verse  to  that  best
criticism  in  which  all  distinction  between  the  literary  and  the
linguistic is resolved; and to Dr. Abercrombie, for all that is not
erroneous in the Appendix on Danger. The first chapter was read
and commented upon by Mr. B. Macfarlane and Professor Tolkien
so long ago that they have probably forgotten the labour, but I do
not therefore forget the kindness..."

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