James Simpson

Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English

John Leland
The laboryouse journey
London, 1549

Every scholar will recognize the pathos of this little book: (i) John Leland is writing a grant proposal of sorts, promising his patron Henry VIII that the work is progressing well; (ii) he promises far more than can possibly be achieved in one lifetime (50 volumes); (iii) he promises to record a historical world that his royal patron is destroying; and (iv) we only hear about these impossible scholarly projects in the light of their failure. Leland’s follower John Bale published this book in 1549, by which time Leland was insane, having fallen “in such a frenesy at thys present, that lytle hope I have of hys recover, wherby he myghte fynyshe such thynges as he began.”

5 9/16 H x 3 11/16 W x 6/16 Th (in)
STC 15445, Houghton Library. Purchased with income of the bequest of Amy Lowell, 1977.