Marco Polo dictated the travels to his fellow prisoner in Genoa many years before the development of printing. The volumes were copied in manuscript, fashioned by hand, and variations in wording and even more serious changes often crept into the work. About eighty-five manuscripts of Marco Polo's book are preserved in various museums and libraries. No two are exactly alike. Some are in Italian, some in Latin and some in French.
One of the earliest printed editions on record is that made by Marco Polo's first editor, Ramusio. This was published in 1559. Marsden's classical English edition was translated from this Italian version and published in 1818. In 1854 an edition was prepared by Thomas Wright for Bohn's Library.
Marsden's translation was used for this text with the addition of several chapters and an abridgment of the original notes.
This edition was later republished in the Everyman's Library and is at present the one most known to the English reading public.