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Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory

Le Morte d'Arthur (1485)

by Sir Thomas Malory

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MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,477341,094 (3.86)109
  1. 40
    The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck (caflores)
  2. 00
    Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Read the two concurrently and got a good sense of the kind of chivalric literature that gave birth to Quixote's madness.
  3. 00
    Tristan: With the Surviving Fragments of the 'Tristan of Thomas' by Gottfried von Strassburg (Shuffy2)
    Shuffy2: See the similarities between the two love triangles of King Arthur, Lancelot, and Guenevere AND King Mark, Isolde, and Tristan

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This Edition is based on Caxton's text: It therefore very largely contains the original detailed content - alterations have been confined almost entirely to spellings and a little grammar.

This is the 'Romance' as conceived by Malory; every human strength and frailty explored through a tale of fair and foul maidens bestowing favours and demanding submission from manly counterparts, valiant and timid knights gripped by purity of motives and the basest of desires, the noble pursuit of mystical religious objects, considerable magic worked for good and bad, lived folk-lore, and at its core a legendary great King whose moral reputation, avowed love and sincere loyalty for his fellows in the face of every sort of affliction, assault and treachery survives unsullied to the present day.

Be he real or imagined - Arthur - is one of the greatest characters ever written down in the English language - with his gallant, chivalric recruits to the Round Table, their strong-willed female companions and array of adversaries the range of all future English Literature (and much for Europe and modern America) is given a riveting basis for its later global success.

It is said (by many) Cervantes' Don Quixote was the first modern novel - I disagree - 'The Death of Arthur' in my estimation has that significant role. ( )
  tommi180744 | Jul 20, 2015 |
Very difficult, monotonous reading. Lots of smoting and brasting. Surprising source of subsequent Arthurian legends which bear little resemblance to Malory's work. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 22, 2014 |
It's nice to finally have a copy of this work, but I'll still search for one by some other editor. It's well known that Strachey edited out certain things, and it makes me sad to have a bowdlerized copy, no matter how well-intentioned, or light in touch. Here's an excellent discussion of the work, including those changes.


To quote: "In 1868, Sir Edward Strachey declared that his newly-published version of Malory was "an edition for ordinary readers, and especially for boys, from whom the chief demand for this book will always come" (qtd. in Gaines 21). His bowdlerized edition removed, among other things, Mordred's incestuous origin and Galahad's illegitimate one. Mark Twain likely owned Strachey's edition; Barry Gaines observes that "Twain's manuscript for A Connecticut Yankee instructs the typist to insert passages from Malory into four places in the book, and the page numbers correspond to those of the Globe Edition" (24). The image to the left shows the cover of the reprint of Strachey's 1868 edition."

The cover mentioned is, of course, identical to mine, although mine is from 1899, rather than 1868. It's still a remarkable effort, and I look forward to reading it, and comparing it to other, similar works. ( )
1 vote Lyndatrue | Aug 20, 2014 |
I know Le Mort d'Arthur is supposed to be a great classic and the definitive Arthur, but damn it, I'm 377 pages in and I can't do it anymore. It is just too much of the same flipping story over and over and over and over again. And not just the same story (knight jousts with knight), but almost the same exact wording with each battle.

The only thing to have sparked my interest in about 200 pages was this line: "The King Arthur overtook her [a false lady and sorceress], and with the same sword he smite off her head, and the Lady of the Lake took up her head and hung it up by the hair to her saddle-bow." THAT is pretty damn awesome, but it's also just one line out of all those 200 pages, and it made me long for a Lady of the Lake story, not more and more of these knights smacking each other around and talking about how knightly and courtly they are because they are big strong men who can politely knock another guy off a horse.

I am so wonderfully wroth at this book that I'm about to come at all of these damn knights like thunder and smote them down with their own damn lances. (PS. If I never see the words "wroth", "smote", or "came together like thunder" again, it will be too soon.) Seriously, don't these guys have anything better to do than run around the forests or hang out a bridges and joust with each other? Isn't there farming or something to be done? Anything? Please? I mean, I'll read about the wheat in the fields at this point.

Did I also mention that it's over 900 pages? Well, it is, and apparently this is the SHORT version. The other version is in like three volumes or something. Since it's getting the point that I'm starting to hate Arthur and his knights, I need to just put in the towel and read something — anything — else for a while.

Right now, I'm really looking forward to rereading Simon Armitag's translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, because I need something to remind me why I used to love Arthurian stories so much. ( )
3 vote andreablythe | Nov 6, 2013 |
I agree with the reviewer who said this is not for the faint of heart, and few general readers are going to find this a great read. If you're looking for an absorbing, entertaining read with characters you can relate to and root for, you're absolutely, positively in the wrong place. Read instead Arthurian novels such as T.H. White's The Once and Future King or Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy. There are countless other such novels inspired by this material worth reading, and I've read a lot of them.

But I did find it interesting at times going through this, one of the ur-texts as it were of Arthurian legend. There are other, earlier works of Arthurian literature: Geoffrey of Monmouth's The History of the Kings of Britain (1136), Chrétien de Troyes's Arthurian Romances in the 12th century and Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival in the 13th century are among the most notable. But Malory drew from several sources, so much so he's often described more as the "compiler" than the author of the work. I own a edition in two volumes that comes close to 1,000 pages. So this is an exhaustive resource of all sorts of facets of the legend. The story of Tristram and Iseult is here, for instance.

And this is a medieval work, so it's imbued with its assumptions and attitudes. Obviously a source of outrage to some reviewers, and even by the standards of the time, comparing this to how women are treated in say Boccaccio's Decameron and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales--well, women don't come off well here. Misogyny abounds. And knights are held up as paragons who commit a lot of heinous acts and just plain WTF. A lot is repetitive and a slog--as one reviewer put it too much is "joust, joust, joust." And this was written about half-way between Chaucer and Shakespeare. With the spelling regularized it's quite readable, much more so than unmodernized Chaucer. But with those that choose to preserve the archaic words, that means wading through words such as "hight" (is called) and "mickle" (much). And there's just so much that can be excused by, well, "it's the times"--I found plenty of medieval writers who were wonderful reads, and just plain more humane: Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer. I can't see Malory as their equal--not remotely. But as a fan of Arthurian literature and someone fascinated by the Middle Ages, this did from time to time have its fascinations. ( )
3 vote LisaMaria_C | Sep 25, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (63 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sir Thomas Maloryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baines, KeithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beardsley, AubreyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bryan, Elizabeth J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caxton, WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cooper, HelenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cowen, JanetEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferguson, Anna-MarieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Field, P.J.C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibbings, RobertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goodrich, Norma LorreEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graves, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacobi, DerekNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lumiansky, Robert M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthews, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pollard, Alfred W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rhys, ErnestEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rhys, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strachey, Sir EdwardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vinaver, EugèneEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, ThomasEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Anna
To Frances Strachey
Her father inscribes this book
the introduction to which
could not have been now re-written
without her help
in making the ear familiar with words
which the eye can no longer read.
First words
King Uther Pendragon, ruler of all Britain, had been at war for many years with the Duke of Tintagil in Cornwall when he was told of the beauty of Lady Igraine, the duke's wife.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the entry for the complete, unabridged text. Please don't combine with selections or retellings!
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Book description
This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1917. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... SIR TRISTRAM THE BEST KNIGHT 259 tram, take your horse. And when Sir Launcelot heard him name Sir Tristram: Alas! said Launcelot, what have I done? I am dishonoured. Ah, my lord Sir Tristram, said Launcelot, why were ye disguised? ye have put yourself in great peril this day; but I pray you noble knight to pardon me, for an I had known you we had not done this battle. Sir, said Sir Tristram, this is not the first kindness ye showed me. So they were both horsed again. Then all the people on the one side gave Sir Launcelot the honour and the degree, and on the other side all the people gave to the noble knight Sir Tristram the honour and the degree; but Launcelot said nay thereto: For I am not worthy to have this honour, for I will report me unto all knights that Sir Tristram hath been longer in the field than I, and he hath smitten down many more knights this day than I have done. And therefore I will give Sir Tristram my voice and my name, and so I pray all my lords and fellows so to do. Then there was the whole voice of dukes and earls, barons and knights, that Sir Tristram this day is proved the best knight. HOW SIR TRISTRAM DEPARTED WITH LA BEALE ISOUD, AND HOW PALOMIDES FOLLOWED AND EXCUSED HIM, AND HOW KING ARTHUR AND SIR LAUNCELOT CAME UNTO THEIR PAVILIONS AS THEY SAT AT SUPPER, AND OF SIR PALOMIDES. Then they blew unto lodging, and Queen Isoud was led unto her pavilions. But wit you well she was wroth out of measure with Sir Palomides, for she saw all his treason from the beginning to the ending. And all this while neither Sir Tristram, neither Sir Gareth nor Dinadan, knew not of the treason of Sir Palomides; but afterward ye shall hear that there befell the greatest debate betwixt Sir Tristram and Sir Palomides that might be. So when the tournam...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451528166, Mass Market Paperback)

From the incredible wizardry of Merlin to the undeniable passion of Sir Launcelot, these tales of Arthur and his knights offer epic adventures with the supernatural-as well as timeless battles with our own humanity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:46 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Presents the epic story of King Arthur, the wizard Merlin, his Knights of the Round Table, the sword Excalibur, and his tragic and poetic death, in a prose translation of the classic legend, featuring an introduction by acclaimed poet Robert Graves.

» see all 7 descriptions

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