Le Morte D' Arthur

Overview

The legends of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table have inspired some of the greatest works of literature—from Cervantes's Don Quixote to Tennyson's Idylls of the King. Although many versions exist, Malory's stands as the classic rendition. Malory wrote the book while in Newgate Prison during the last three years of his life; it was published some fourteen years later, in 1485, by William Caxton. The tales, steeped in the magic of Merlin, the powerful cords of the chivalric code, and the age-old dramas...

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Le Morte d'Arthur

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Overview

The legends of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table have inspired some of the greatest works of literature—from Cervantes's Don Quixote to Tennyson's Idylls of the King. Although many versions exist, Malory's stands as the classic rendition. Malory wrote the book while in Newgate Prison during the last three years of his life; it was published some fourteen years later, in 1485, by William Caxton. The tales, steeped in the magic of Merlin, the powerful cords of the chivalric code, and the age-old dramas of love and death, resound across the centuries.

The stories of King Arthur, Lancelot, Queen Guenever, and Tristram and Isolde seem astonishingly moving and modern. Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur endures and inspires because it embodies mankind's deepest yearnings for brotherhood and community, a love worth dying for, and valor, honor, and chivalry.

Edited and first published by William Caxton in 1485, Sir Thomas Malory's unique and splendid version of the Arthurian legend tells an immortal story of love, adventure, chivalry, treachery, and death.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810100312
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1968
  • Series: York Medieval Texts Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 166
  • Sales rank: 291,889
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth J. Bryan is associate professor of English at Brown University. She is the author of Collaborative Meaning in Medieval Scribal Culture: The Otho LaZamon.

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Read an Excerpt

Le Morte D'Arthur


By Thomas Malory

Northwestern University Press

Copyright © 1968 Thomas Malory
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0810100312


Chapter One


How Uther Pendragon sent for the duke of Cornwall and Igraine his wife, and of their departing suddenly again.


IT befell in the days of Uther Pendragon, when he was king of all England, and so reigned, that there was a mighty duke in Cornwall that held war against him long time. And the duke was called the Duke of Tintagil. And so by means King Uther sent for this duke, charging him to bring his wife with him, for she was called a fair lady, and a passing wise, and her name was called Igraine.

So when the duke and his wife were come unto the king, by the means of great lords they were accorded both. The king liked and loved this lady well, and he made them great cheer out of measure, and desired to have lain by her. But she was a passing good woman, and would not assent unto the king. And then she told the duke her husband, and said, I suppose that we were sent for that I should be dishonoured; wherefore, husband, I counsel you, that we depart from hence suddenly, that we may ride all night unto our own castle. And in like wise as she said so they departed, that neither the king nor none of his council were ware of their departing. All so soon as King Uther knew of their departingso suddenly, he was wonderly wroth. Then he called to him his privy council, and told them of the sudden departing of the duke and his wife.

Then they advised the king to send for the duke and his wife by a great charge; and if he will not come at your summons, then may ye do your best, then have ye cause to make mighty war upon him. So that was done, and the messengers had their answers; and that was this shortly, that neither he nor his wife would not come at him.

Then was the king wonderly wroth. And then the king sent him plain word again, and bade him be ready and stuff him and garnish him, for within forty days he would fetch him out of the biggest castle that he hath.

When the duke had this warning, anon he went and furnished and garnished two strong castles of his, of the which the one hight Tintagil, and the other castle hight Terrabil. So his wife Dame Igraine he put in the castle of Tintagil, and himself he put in the castle of Terrabil, the which had many issues and posterns out. Then in all haste came Uther with a great host, and laid a siege about the castle of Terrabil. And there he pight many pavilions, and there was great war made on both parties, and much people slain. Then for pure anger and for great love of fair Igraine the king Uther fell sick. So came to the king Uther Sir Ulfius, a noble knight, and asked the king why he was sick. I shall tell thee, said the king, I am sick for anger and for love of fair Igraine, that I may not be whole. Well, my lord, said Sir Ulfius, I shall seek Merlin, and he shall do you remedy, that your heart shall be pleased. So Ulfius departed, and by adventure he met Merlin in a beggar's array, and there Merlin asked Ulfius whom he sought. And he said he had little ado to tell him. Well, said Merlin, I know whom thou seekest, for thou seekest Merlin; therefore seek no farther, for I am he; and if King Uther will well reward me, and be sworn unto me to fulfil my desire, that shall be his honour and profit more than mine; for I shall cause him to have all his desire. All this will I undertake, said Ulfius, that there shall be nothing reasonable but thou shalt have thy desire. Well, said Merlin, he shall have his intent and desire. And therefore, said Merlin, ride on your way, for I will not be long behind.

Continues...


Excerpted from Le Morte D'Arthur by Thomas Malory Copyright © 1968 by Thomas Malory. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 15 of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The not prettied-up Arthur

    This is not the "prettied up" Victorian (or later) King Arthur full of justice and nobility...at least not by current standards of justice and nobility. This is the story of King Arthur and his knights as translated/adapted/compiled (mostly from much older French manuscripts) by Sir Thomas Malory during the chaotic days of the Wars of the Roses.
    Most of the main characters are deeply flawed. This is even true of Arthur who spends most of his "screen time" being manipulated by either Merlin or Sir Gawain. The main character traits which get someone labeled as a "noble/worshipful knight" seem to be:
    1. He fights well
    2. He fights fairly
    3. He speaks courteously
    4. He is of noble birth
    Possess these four characteristics and just about anything else can be overlooked (the occasional rape, murder, adultery, etc.). Malory does not seem to comment one way or the other on this morality other than in the quest for the Sangreal where only the three (mostly) sinless (and virgin) knights are acceptable to God.

    I found the main story arcs interesting, but most of the minor events of which they were composed were repetitive in the extreme. Each story arc was a series of episodes most of which involved the protagonist fighting other random knights at battles, tournaments, or in single combat; sometimes to right a wrong, sometimes just for the sake of fighting. These encounters are all described using the same dozen or so stock phrases. This is a common device in older writing, I think, but it becomes quite tedious after a while. In my opinion, the last third of the book was much more interesting than the preceding 600 or so pages. It described the quest for the Sangreal and the events which led up to the death of Arthur in a much more cohesive manner than the other stories (the story of Sir Tristram and La Beal Isoud which takes up the middle third of the book was especially fragmentary).

    I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the Arthurian mythos as being closer to the source material than modern retellings, but I do not know whether the average reader would enjoy it or not.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Poor text scan

    Sub par.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    Unreadable

    It may be free, but this is not the version for you!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    Unreadable

    Whatever this book was, its nothing but computer gibberish now

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    ????

    Kinda confuing book....

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 25, 2010

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    Posted June 23, 2011

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