The book makes available the earliest surviving text in English of the sixteenth-century Latin grammar generally attributed to William Lily (c.1468 - c.1523), the grammarian, scholar, and first headmaster of St Paul's School. The compilation became, by royal acclamation, the first and only authorized text for the teaching of Latin in grammar schools and remained so until ousted by Kennedy's primer in the first half of the nineteenth century. During this period it had a profound influence not only on the study and teaching of Latin, but on the understanding of grammar and language more generally. Subsequent grammatical treatises in English were influenced by it in shaping grammatical rules and terms, and so too were methods of language teaching.
The 1542 version is presented here by Hedwig Gwosdek in a scrupulously and helpfully prepared edition. Dr Gwosdek has prefaced it with chapters on the text's grammatical and pedagogical origins, composition, and subsequent history. She also includes a text on accidence and construction which mainly emerged from the tradition of the English grammatical manuscripts and the early printed grammars.
This fascinating work will interest scholars and advanced students of the English Renaissance as well as those interested in the histories of English linguistics, education, and early modern English.