The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights

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Overview


A modern retelling of the legendary Arthurian tales from one of the twentieth century?s greatest writers

Morte d?Arthur was one of the first books that John Steinbeck enjoyed reading as a child, and it became a favorite story to read to his own children. Here now is Steinbeck?s only work of fantasy literature?his modernization of Malory?s adventures of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, who together took the oath of knightship, swearing never to use violence ...

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The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

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Overview


A modern retelling of the legendary Arthurian tales from one of the twentieth century?s greatest writers

Morte d?Arthur was one of the first books that John Steinbeck enjoyed reading as a child, and it became a favorite story to read to his own children. Here now is Steinbeck?s only work of fantasy literature?his modernization of Malory?s adventures of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, who together took the oath of knightship, swearing never to use violence without good purpose, to be merciful, to protect women, and never to fight for an unjust cause or personal gain. Here are the iconic and legendary tales of King Arthur, Guinevere, Sir Lancelot, Merlin, and Morgan le Fay. Christopher Paolini, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling novels Eragon and Eldest, has written a new foreword offering a fresh and young perspective on this classic.

This is a book sure to capture the attention and imagination of a wide audience, including the legions of Steinbeck fans, those who love the legendary adventures of King Arthur and his Knights, as well as the countless fans of science fiction and fantasy literature, and everyone who loves Paolini?s bestselling novels.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Steinbeck credited Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthurwith his love of books. He hated reading as a kid until finding the old tales of Arthur and the Round Table, which put the hook in him at age nine. Toward the end of his life, Steinbeck began his own collection of Arthurian legends. It wasn't published until 1976-well after his 1968 death-and was the last book on which he worked. This illustrated edition carries a new foreword by top fantasy writer Christopher Paolini and a lengthy appendix.


—Michael Rogers
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374100858
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/28/1976
  • Pages: 364

Meet the Author

John Steinbeck (1902- 1968), winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, achieved popular success in 1935 with the publication of Tortilla Flat. He went on to write more than twenty-five novels, including The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.

Christopher Paolini is the author of the number one New York Times bestsellers Eragon and Eldest. His most recent novel, Brisingr, completes the Inheritance series.

Biography

John Ernst Steinbeck, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner, was born in Salinas, California February 27, 1902. His father, John Steinbeck, served as Monterey County Treasurer for many years. His mother, Olive Hamilton, was a former schoolteacher who developed in him a love of literature. Young Steinbeck came to know the Salinas Valley well, working as a hired hand on nearby ranches in Monterey County. In 1919, he graduated from Salinas High School as president of his class and entered Stanford University majoring in English. Stanford did not claim his undivided attention. During this time he attended only sporadically while working at a variety jobs including on with the Big Sur highway project, and one at Spreckels Sugar Company near Salinas.

Steinbeck left Stanford permanently in 1925 to pursue a career in writing in New York City. He was unsuccessful and returned, disappointed, to California the following year. Though his first novel, Cup of Gold, was published in 1929, it attracted little literary attention. Two subsequent novels, The Pastures of Heaven and To A God Unknown, met the same fate.

After moving to the Monterey Peninsula in 1930, Steinbeck and his new wife, Carol Henning, made their home in Pacific Grove. Here, not far from famed Cannery Row, heart of the California sardine industry, Steinbeck found material he would later use for two more works, Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row.

With Tortilla Flat (1935), Steinbeck's career took a decidedly positive turn, receiving the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal. He felt encouraged to continue writing, relying on extensive research and personal observation of the human drama for his stories. In 1937, Of Mice and Men was published. Two years later, the novel was produced on Broadway and made into a movie. In 1940, Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for Grapes of Wrath, bringing to public attention the plight of dispossessed farmers.

After Steinbeck and Henning divorced in 1942, he married Gwyndolyn Conger. The couple moved to New York City and had two sons, Thomas and two years later, John. During the war years, Steinbeck served as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. Some of his dispatches reappeared in Once There Was A War. In 1945, Steinbeck published Cannery Row and continued to write prolifically, producing plays, short stories and film scripts. In 1950, he married Elaine Anderson Scott and they remained together until his death.

Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 "...for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and keen social perception.." In his acceptance speech, Steinbeck summarized what he sought to achieve through his works:

"...Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it and it has not changed except to become more needed. The skalds, the bards, the writers are not separate and exclusive. From the beginning, their functions, their duties, their responsibilities have been decreed by our species...Further more, the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity of greatness of heart and spirit—gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and emulation. I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature..."

Steinbeck remained a private person, shunning publicity and moving frequently in his search for privacy. He died on December 20, 1968 in New York City, where he and his family made a home. But his final resting place was the valley he had written about with such passion. At his request, his ashes were interred in the Garden of Memories cemetery in Salinas. He is survived by his son, Thomas.

Author biography courtesy of the National Steinbeck Center.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Amnesia Glasscock
      John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (full name); Amnesia Glasscock
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 27, 1902
    2. Place of Birth:
      Salinas, California
    1. Date of Death:
      December 20, 1968
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

Table of Contents


The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights Foreword
Introduction

I. Merlin
II. The Knight with the Two Swords
III. The Wedding of King Arthur
IV. The Death of Merlin
V. Morgan Le Fay
VI. Gawain, Ewain, and Marhalt
VII. The Noble Tale of Sir Lancelot of the Lake

Appendix

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 16, 2009

    Nice, comfy reading for leisure.

    A an age old fairy-tale told in modern, easy to read form by an author so well-known and respected for his writing about the lives and times of our American experience. A great read for rainy fall evenings by the fire or for the Steinbeck fan looking for something different. Although the genre is foreign to Steinbeck, his easy reading, common-sense style still comes through. I never had a chance to read the Mallory version, but my thanks to Steinbeck for bringing this classic to us in modern English.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2013

    I have read this book 7 times over the past 4 decades. It is Ki

    I have read this book 7 times over the past 4 decades. It is King Arthur's tale without all of the incredible difficult to understand middle English prose. This is the version to read if you are focused on the story, and not on the storytelling. I haven't read it in 5 years or so. I think I'll bring it on my next vacation!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is great. It just seems to flow in a manner that you find yourself unable to put it down. It is so action packed, that as mentioned by the review above, that is always someone fighting, falling off a horse or just getting a sword stuck in their head. It is fit for all ages, and an adventure in and out of itself. Oh... and have i mentioned it's great?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2003

    A CLASSIC

    This book is very well written. Before I read it, I had no interest in King Arthur at all. There is literally a sword fight every two pages! You will never want to put this book down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2001

    A great 'Arthur'

    This was a wonderful discovery and a treasuer for Arthur fans. Suggest reading the appendix first, esp. the letter dated March 14, 1958.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2001

    Absolutely Amazing, Hidden Steinbeck

    Completely hidden John Steinbeck, a valid & bona fide 5 stars!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted February 4, 2011

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    Posted August 4, 2011

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    Posted June 17, 2010

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    Posted July 5, 2012

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    Posted November 28, 2011

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    Posted October 30, 2008

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