The Romance of Tristan and Iseult [NOOK Book]

Overview

The legend of Tristan and Iseult is an influential romance and tragedy, retold in numerous sources with as many variations. The tragic story is of the adulterous love between the Cornish knight Tristan (Tristram) and the Irish princess Iseult (Isolde, Yseult, etc.). The narrative predates and most likely influenced the Arthurian romance of Lancelot and Guinevere, and has had a substantial impact on Western art, the idea of romantic love and literature since it first appeared in the 12th century. While the details...
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The Romance of Tristan and Iseult

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Overview

The legend of Tristan and Iseult is an influential romance and tragedy, retold in numerous sources with as many variations. The tragic story is of the adulterous love between the Cornish knight Tristan (Tristram) and the Irish princess Iseult (Isolde, Yseult, etc.). The narrative predates and most likely influenced the Arthurian romance of Lancelot and Guinevere, and has had a substantial impact on Western art, the idea of romantic love and literature since it first appeared in the 12th century. While the details of the story differ from one author to another, the overall plot structure remains much the same.
There are two main traditions of the Tristan legend. The early tradition comprised the French romances of two poets from the second half of the twelfth century, Thomas of Britain and Béroul. Their sources could be traced back to the original, archetypal Celtic romance. Later traditions come from the Prose Tristan (c. 1240), which was markedly different from the earlier tales written by Thomas and Béroul. The Prose Tristan became the common medieval tale of Tristan and Iseult that would provide the background for the writings of Sir Thomas Malory, the English author, who wrote Le Morte d'Arthur (c. 1469).
The story and character of Tristan vary from poet to poet. Even the spelling of his name varies a great deal, although "Tristan" is the most popular spelling. Most versions of the Tristan story follow the same general outline.
After defeating the Irish knight Morholt, Tristan goes to Ireland to bring back the fair Iseult for his uncle King Mark to marry. Along the way, they ingest a love potion that causes the pair to fall madly in love. In the "courtly" version, the potion's effects last for a lifetime; in the "common" versions, however, the potion's effects wane after three years. Also, in some versions, they ingest the potion accidentally; in others, the potion's maker instructs Iseult to share it with Mark, but she deliberately gives it to Tristan instead, who is unaware of what is happening. Although Iseult marries Mark, she and Tristan are forced by the potion to seek one another out for adultery. Although the typical noble Arthurian character would be shamed from such an act, the love potion that controls them frees Tristan and Iseult from responsibility. The king's advisors repeatedly try to have the pair tried for adultery, but again and again the couple use trickery to preserve their façade of innocence. In Béroul's version, the love potion eventually wears off, and the two lovers are free to make their own choice as to whether they cease their adulterous lifestyle or continue.
As with the Arthur-Lancelot-Guinevere love triangle, Tristan, King Mark, and Iseult all hold love for each other. Tristan honors, respects, and loves King Mark as his mentor and adopted father; Iseult is grateful that Mark is kind to her, which he is certainly not obliged to be; and Mark loves Tristan as his son, and Iseult as a wife. But every night, they each have horrible dreams about the future. Tristan's uncle eventually learns of the affair and seeks to entrap his nephew and his bride. Also present is the endangerment of a fragile kingdom, the cessation of war between Ireland and Cornwall. Mark gets what seems proof of their guilt and resolves to punish them: Tristan by hanging and burning Iseult by burning on the stake, later putting her up in a lazar house (a leper colony). Tristan escapes on his way to the gallows by a miraculous leap from a chapel and rescues Iseult. The lovers escape into the forest of Morrois and take shelter there until they are discovered by Mark one day. However, they make peace with Mark after Tristan's agreement to return Iseult to Mark and leave the country. Tristan then travels on to Brittany, where he marries (for her name and her beauty) Iseult of the White Hands, daughter of Hoel of Brittany and sister of Sir Kahedin.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940012375452
  • Publisher: JC PUB NETWORKS
  • Publication date: 3/29/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 179 KB

Meet the Author

Bédier was born in Paris, France to Adolphe Bédier, a lawyer of Breton origin, and spent his childhood in Réunion. He was a professor of medieval French literature at the Université de Fribourg, Switzerland (1889–1891) and the Collège de France, Paris (c. 1893).
Modern theories of the fabliaux and the chansons de geste are based on two of Bédier's studies.
Bédier revived interest in several important old French texts, including Le roman de Tristan et Iseut (1900), La chanson de Roland (1921), and Les fabliaux (1893). He was a member of the Académie française from 1920 until his death.
His Tristan et Iseut was translated into Cornish by A. S. D. Smith, into English by Hilaire Belloc and Paul Rosenfeld, and into German by Rudolf G. Binding.
Bédier was also joint editor of the two-volume Littérature française, one of the most valuable modern general histories of French literature.
Bédier died in Le Grand-Serre, France
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    I first read Joseph Bedier's classic THE ROMANCE OF TRISTAN AND

    I first read Joseph Bedier's classic THE ROMANCE OF TRISTAN AND ISEULT about 20 years ago when I was in high school; in college I read it again, in both French and English, in a Comparative World Literature class. For years I wanted to return to this book, and now I have, reading the beautiful Fonthill Press edition. This little volume has so very much to offer that other versions simply do not have, including the replacement of previous omissions and the correction of errors etc. So far as I can see, this version is totally complete, and so beautifully written and translated. Hilaire Belloc suppressed much, much in his beautiful English translation. In this edition those suppressions have been seamlessly replaced and the translation errors mended, while maintaining the tone of the original. The other English versions are like an unfinished and damaged tapestry; in this version the tapestry has been meticulously and discreetly restored. Every page is a wonder. Also, I must say that the 50+ pages of extra material included here, especially the Introduction, make this a further enriched version, by far the best on the market. If you love stories of youth and beauty and romance and heroes and castles and doomed love and all of that rich, archaic stuff, then this great, magnificent story will literally transport you - and then follow you in your thoughts and in your heart for a lifetime. Well, I am getting carried away, but I am also telling you the truth. THE ROMANCE OF TRISTAN AND ISEULT is simply one of the most precious little gems in world literature, and this version is nothing short of exquisite. Read it!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 12, 2012

    Exquisite!

    I first read Joseph Bedier's classic THE ROMANCE OF TRISTAN AND ISEULT about 20 years ago when I was in high school; in college I read it again, in both French and English, in a Comparative World Literature class. For years I wanted to return to this book, and now I have, reading the beautiful Fonthill Press edition. This little volume has so very much to offer that other versions simply do not have, including the replacement of previous omissions and the correction of errors etc. So far as I can see, this version is totally complete, and so beautifully written and translated. Hilaire Belloc suppressed much, much in his beautiful English translation. In this edition those suppressions have been seamlessly replaced and the translation errors mended, while maintaining the tone of the original. The other English versions are like an unfinished and damaged tapestry; in this version the tapestry has been meticulously and discreetly restored. Every page is a wonder. Also, I must say that the 50+ pages of extra material included here, especially the Introduction, make this a further enriched version, by far the best on the market. If you love stories of youth and beauty and romance and heroes and castles and doomed love and all of that rich, archaic stuff, then this great, magnificent story will literally transport you - and then follow you in your thoughts and in your heart for a lifetime. Well, I am getting carried away, but I am also telling you the truth. THE ROMANCE OF TRISTAN AND ISEULT is simply one of the most precious little gems in world literature, and this version is nothing short of exquisite. Read it!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 1, 2015

    Fell apart.

    The book was so old that it fell apart the moment I took it out of the packaging. It was in three parts. I dont remember what condition I ordered it in but I wouldnt have ordered anything less than "good." The book I received was definitely not "good."

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

    Posted March 16, 2007

    I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!

    This book is one of my faves..... I love it! :)

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

    Posted January 22, 2006

    Best love story

    This is the most romantic story ever written. i strongly recommend reading this book over the new movie that just came out, it is nothing compared to this story.

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

    Posted September 8, 2004

    alright

    You definately must be a fan of arthurian literature to enjoy this book. Althought it is short and easy to read, i did not enjoy it at all. I found the wording and the basic concept frustrating and I would not recommend this book to anyone not already interested. However, if the book seems interesting to you I would say its worth a try.

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

    Posted March 27, 2004

    Readable, sad and fun (?).

    I had been meaning to read this book since it pops up here and there in conversation and books and music but never got around to it. So I finally picked it up and read it in a few sittings, its a short version. I enjoyed myself and the sadness did not bother me too much. Thanks.

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

    Posted February 14, 2004

    I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!

    I LOVED this book. It was charming, romantic, well written, and an easy read. I strongly recommend this one to anyone who likes the Arthurian romance.

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

    Posted June 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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