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Le Morte Darthur: The Winchester Manuscript…

Le Morte Darthur: The Winchester Manuscript (Oxford World's Classics) (edition 2008)

by Thomas Malory (Author)

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Title:Le Morte Darthur: The Winchester Manuscript (Oxford World's Classics)
Authors:Thomas Malory (Author)
Info:Oxford University Press (2008), Edition: Reissue, 624 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Arthurian Literature, Britain, Classic Literature

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Le Morte D'Arthur: The Winchester Manuscript (Oxford World's Classics) by Thomas Malory



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In Le Morte D'Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory has compiled prior Arthurian tales, as well as added his own. While he does owe a lot of plot to characters such as Geoffrey of Monmouth an Chrétien de Troyes, Malory is unique since Morte D'Arthur becomes the definitive Arthurian anthology for subsequent authors to work off of. Malory solidifies some traits of contemporary understandings of Arthurian legend: Morgan Le Fey, The Sword in the Stone, intertwining Lancelot's love for Guinevere into Arthur's downfall, etc. For this reason, Morte D'Arthur is very interesting, even now.

As writing style goes, Malory's prose is not extraordinarily timeless. It is hard to have analysis of Morte D'Arthur without alluding at least to the War of the Roses, juxtaposing Arthur as the ideal King to warring monarchs in Britain, who didn't have much legitimacy. Compared to earlier Arthurian tales, Malory is a better writer, yet the idea of the modern novel has not yet developed, apparent by the usefulness of Oxford's "translation" into more understandable English prose. Still, from a leisure-reading perspective, it is more enjoyable to read than it's earlier peers, yet it has yet to develop more modern literary traits which make reading fun for a twenty-first century audience. ( )
  MarchingBandMan | Oct 12, 2017 |
I'm so glad I finally read Le Morte Darthur. I've loved the King Arthur stories ever since I was little and read what I think was a retelling by Enid Blyton. I actually read this for my Late Medieval Literature class, but I'd have read it someday anyway. The copy I read was an abridgement, which is probably a good thing as parts of it got quite tedious as it was. The introduction to this version is pretty interesting -- and, by the way, my lectures on it were wonderful.

I subscribe to the view that this is not necessarily intended to be a novel in the modern sense. The tales are too repetitive in parts and each can stand alone. I do agree that they're all related to each other, though. Throughout the course of the book, the tales get better and more lovingly written, I think. I do suspect Sir Thomas Malory would rather like to have married Lancelot on the astral plane. It's odd to notice how much of a stinking liar Lancelot is, and yet the text makes no judgement on him at all for that. I'm aware of the public honour system's part in that, but still...

I'm not sure one can say anything new on this text that hasn't been said, to be honest. I loved it, and if you're into King Arthur and you don't mind a bit of a challenge, I suggest you go for it.

Hic iacet Arthurus, rex quondam rexque futurus.

(Because in some secret part of my heart, I believe that one day King Arthur will come again.) ( )
1 vote shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
I ventured into this version of Malory to fulfill something that had held my curiosity over the years, namely the common source of the Arthurian legends. And while some of the legends in Malory have their roots outside of England, it was Malory who brought the whole thing together into one collective tale. As a result reading this may be somewhat cumbersome, particularly for those who are not accustomed to the language of the period. The text in this edition is well prepared and the preface denotes a certain amount of editing to shorten certain scenes, which is helpful, as Malory does have an inclination toward repetitive scenes. Reading Malory was indeed enlightening, as my knowledge of Arthurian legend was limited to common facets of the tales and the pieces that were highlighted in the film adaptation "Excalibur", a great movie in its own right, but a decided interpretative take, stressing a certain line of the legends (as do all the films concerning Camelot). I found it helpful, and fascinating, to map out a geneaology and relationship tree as I read Malory, as some characters spring in and out of the narrative with large gaps between. I found the latter part of Malory most satisfying, as the legend moves to the grand tragedy that is the epic confrontation between Arthur and Lancelot, and then Arthur and Mordred. For those considering a venture into Malory, I would strongly recommend following it up with a read of Tennyson's 'Idylls of the King', which has its own focus on the legend, and looks at it from quite a different perspective. Either way, Malory is a classic, as his prose still reads well to this day, and its resonance through literature is undeniable. ( )
  rolandallnach | Feb 23, 2011 |
Arthurian legends have always piqued my interest. I've learned a lot from studying them, the least of which that the stories are incredibly old. Malory's Winchester Manuscript is the most comprehensive version - from an English author. All the stories of Arthur's knights are here, and I certainly have my favorites: Gareth first!

Malory's writing is quite dense, and it takes a while to get used to his 15th century technique. However, once you get into the text you will fall in love. He writes beautifully, and this will always be a part of my library. If you're looking for even older Arthurian stories - search in Wales and France. ( )
2 vote VivalaErin | Jul 15, 2010 |
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The Story of Arthur
At the battle of Camlann, Arthur and Medraut fell.
That cryptic line is not quite the earliest reference to Arthur, but it is the first that lays claims to historical plausibility.
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Edited and abridged with an introduction and notes by Helen Cooper. Please don't combine with the full, original text, or different selections!
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199537348, Paperback)

The greatest English version of the stories of King Arthur, Le Morte D'Arthur was completed in 1469-70 by Sir Thomas Malory, "knight prisoner." This edition is the first designed for the general reader to be based on the "Winchester manuscript" which represents what Malory wrote more closely than the version printed by William Caxton. Extensively annotated, this edition is highly user-friendly.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 21 Nov 2015 17:23:31 -0500)

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