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Morte d'Arthur [christmas Summary Classics]

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Christmas Summary Classics This series contains summary of Classic books such as Emma, Arne, Arabian Nights, Pride and prejudice, Tower of London, Wealth of Nations etc. Each book is specially crafted after reading complete book in less than 30 pages. One who wants to get joy of book reading especially in very less time can go for it. About The Book Little is known of Sir Christmas Summary Classics This series contains summary of Classic books such as Emma, Arne, Arabian Nights, Pride and prejudice, Tower of London, Wealth of Nations etc. Each book is specially crafted after reading complete book in less than 30 pages. One who wants to get joy of book reading especially in very less time can go for it. About The Book Little is known of Sir Thomas Malory, who, according to Caxton, "did take out of certain French books a copy of the noble histories of King Arthur and reduced it to English." We learn from the text that "this book was finished in the ninth year of the reign of King Edward the Fourth, by Sir Thomas Malory, Knight." That would be in the year 1469. Malory is said to have been a Welshman. The origin of the Arthurian romance was probably Welsh. Its first literary form was in Geoffrey of Monmouth's prose, in 1147. Translated into French verse, and brightened in the process, these legends appear to have come back to us, and to have received notable additions from Walter Map (1137-1209), another Welshman. A second time they were worked on and embellished by the French romanticists, and from these later versions Malory appears to have collated the materials for his immortal translation. The story of Arthur and Launcelot is the thread of interest followed in this epitome. For more eBooks visit www.kartindo.com

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Christmas Summary Classics This series contains summary of Classic books such as Emma, Arne, Arabian Nights, Pride and prejudice, Tower of London, Wealth of Nations etc. Each book is specially crafted after reading complete book in less than 30 pages. One who wants to get joy of book reading especially in very less time can go for it. About The Book Little is known of Sir Christmas Summary Classics This series contains summary of Classic books such as Emma, Arne, Arabian Nights, Pride and prejudice, Tower of London, Wealth of Nations etc. Each book is specially crafted after reading complete book in less than 30 pages. One who wants to get joy of book reading especially in very less time can go for it. About The Book Little is known of Sir Thomas Malory, who, according to Caxton, "did take out of certain French books a copy of the noble histories of King Arthur and reduced it to English." We learn from the text that "this book was finished in the ninth year of the reign of King Edward the Fourth, by Sir Thomas Malory, Knight." That would be in the year 1469. Malory is said to have been a Welshman. The origin of the Arthurian romance was probably Welsh. Its first literary form was in Geoffrey of Monmouth's prose, in 1147. Translated into French verse, and brightened in the process, these legends appear to have come back to us, and to have received notable additions from Walter Map (1137-1209), another Welshman. A second time they were worked on and embellished by the French romanticists, and from these later versions Malory appears to have collated the materials for his immortal translation. The story of Arthur and Launcelot is the thread of interest followed in this epitome. For more eBooks visit www.kartindo.com

30 review for Morte d'Arthur [christmas Summary Classics]

  1. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    FINALLY finished this last night. No exaggeration: I have been reading this book for six months. Not six continuous months, mind you. I kept the book by my bed and would try to read a little bit every night, but I could never manage to read more than twenty pages in a single sitting, and I would usually be reading another book in the meantime and forget about Le Morte d'Arthur for weeks at a time. This thing is a hell of a slog, in other words. Sure, there are knightly adventures and duels aplen FINALLY finished this last night. No exaggeration: I have been reading this book for six months. Not six continuous months, mind you. I kept the book by my bed and would try to read a little bit every night, but I could never manage to read more than twenty pages in a single sitting, and I would usually be reading another book in the meantime and forget about Le Morte d'Arthur for weeks at a time. This thing is a hell of a slog, in other words. Sure, there are knightly adventures and duels aplenty, but once you've read two or three you've pretty much read them all. It's just dudes getting smote off their horses and slicing other dudes in the head and damosels running around being pretty and useless, and wasn't there supposed to be something about a grail quest? (further research tells me that all the stuff about the Holy Grail takes place in Volume Two, which I have absolutely no interest in tracking down) It got to the point where I had to invent games to keep myself invested in the story, like "How Many of the Fight Scenes Can Be Interpreted as Gay Sex Scenes?" The answer, dear reader, is A Lot. "By that Sir Launcelot was come, then he proffered Sir Launcelot to joust; and either made them ready, and they came together so fiercely that either bare down other to the earth, and sore were they bruised. ...and so they rushed together like boars, tracing, raising, and foining to the mountenance of an hour; and Sir Launcelot felt him so big that he marvelled of his strength, for he fought more liker a giant than a knight, and that his fighting was durable and passing perilous. For Sir Launcelot had so much ado with him that he dreaded himself to be shamed, and said, Beaumains, fight not so sore, your quarrel and mine is not so great but that we may leave off. Truly that is truth, said Beaumains, but it doth me good to feel your might, and yet, my lord, I showed not the utterance." "And then they hurled together as wild boars, and thus they fought a great while. For Meliagaunce was a good man and of great might, but Sir Lamorak was hard big for him, and put him always aback, but either had wounded other sore."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I just recently finished reading "Le Morte d'Arthur", and it was an interesting experience. It defies categorization. Not a novel, not an epic poem, not exactly a collection of myths, more than a collection of folk stories, certainly a product of a Christian imagination, but very earthy. Repetitive, but after I got into the rhythm of it, not boring. Once you submit your prejudices to the vision of the author, you become able to enter into this strange world of kings, knights, ladies, wars and to I just recently finished reading "Le Morte d'Arthur", and it was an interesting experience. It defies categorization. Not a novel, not an epic poem, not exactly a collection of myths, more than a collection of folk stories, certainly a product of a Christian imagination, but very earthy. Repetitive, but after I got into the rhythm of it, not boring. Once you submit your prejudices to the vision of the author, you become able to enter into this strange world of kings, knights, ladies, wars and tournaments. When we do, we discover that Arthur and his court represent an ideal. For Malory and his audience, a true king was noble at all times and able to marshall his forces in service of the good. A true knight trusted God to uphold his cause in the test of arms. A true lady was virtuous and worthy of being defended at all costs. There is much in these ideals that is noteworthy, and we look down our nose at these ideas at our own peril, I think. There is a rhythm, a pattern in how the tales of King Arthur and his knights are told. There is always a quest in need of a knight, a lady in need of a champion, and a knight in need of proving his mettle. He will do so in the only way available to him at that time; through jousts and combat at arms with other errant knights he meets on his way. Courts, juries and judges are few and far between, so wrongs can only be righted by a gentle knight who will prove with his puissance that his cause is just. Again, when you sit back and accept that this is the pattern Malory used, the tales are enjoyable even though we know the formula and can predict with ease what is going to happen. "Morte d'Arthur", though, is more than jousts and hunts. Digging beneath the surface, the reader discovers that the stories are filled with symbols and metaphors that show that Malory was telling more than stories of jousting knights. The legends of King Arthur are filled with Biblical allusions. Arthur, the once and future king, is a type of Christ. HIs knights bear resemblances to many of the apostles; Gawain is Peter, Modred is Judas, and so on. Even hunting excursions mean more than just a hunt. A white hart sometimes symbolizes Christ Himself, and the hunt becomes a pursuit of salvation. But Malory was no mere idealist. King Arthur and his knights and ladies are deeply flawed. Sir Tristram and Queen Iseult indulge in an adulterous relationship for years under the protection of Lancelot. Lancelot himself uses his skill in battle to prove the innocence of himself and Guenevere, something few believe and even the king doubts. Gawain's impetuous nature is as much to blame for the fall of Camelot as Modred's treason. And in the quest for the holy Grail, the knights of the round table are all held accountable for their manifold sins. The quest for the Grail came as a surprise to me. I always thought that the goal of the quest was to obtain the cup and give it to the king, and it is often presented in this manner. Malory, though, saw it differently. The quest for the Grail was a quest for the beatific vision, to be admitted into the presence of Christ while still on Earth. This is the reason it could only be accomplished by one who was as sinless as Galahad. This is also the reason that so many of the knights die in this quest. In their pride they pursued the Grail as an object to be possessed and manipulated. They embark on the quest unworthy of the quest itself, let alone the Grail. Half of them will pay for this affront with their lives. Another surprise for me was the way in which "Le Morte" made it clear that Arthur, Camelot, and Logres are inextricably connected. The life of each follows the same arc. Camelot and Logres only begin to enjoy their greatness when Arthur becomes king. They grow and age with him, and his fate is their fate. As he waxes in strength, wisdom and goodness, so do they. They are at their height when he is at his, and when he falters and fails, they must also fall. The death of King Arthur is the death of his court and all that it stood for when at its best. The hope that he will return is the hope that true nobility, true chivalry has not died but only slumbers to awaken at need. "Le Morte" is written in almost a perfunctory fashion. There is not much beauty to its prose. But the story itself is beautiful enough in its promise and tragedy to ameliorate any defect of technique. It is the font from which nearly all of our Arthurian stories springs. There is not a single book, poem, play, or movie about kings, knights and wizards that does not owe a certain debt to "Le Morte". There is much to reward the reader today who is willing to let Malory tell his tale his way. I encourage you to do so.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    At long last hath I enchieved the goodliest quest of 937 pages of Ye Olde English! 937 pages of damosels and knights smiting everych other and breaking their spears all to-brast, and tourneys and "justing" and villainous kings who traitorly slew... oops, there I go again. I'm just! so! happy! I've been reading this book since February (it's now November) and inasmuch as I thought I was prepared because of that one Christmas that Mr. Murray wrote the family Christmas letter in Ye Olde English... r At long last hath I enchieved the goodliest quest of 937 pages of Ye Olde English! 937 pages of damosels and knights smiting everych other and breaking their spears all to-brast, and tourneys and "justing" and villainous kings who traitorly slew... oops, there I go again. I'm just! so! happy! I've been reading this book since February (it's now November) and inasmuch as I thought I was prepared because of that one Christmas that Mr. Murray wrote the family Christmas letter in Ye Olde English... really, he did... I had no way of comprehending what I was getting myself into. It got to be a point of pride that I had to get through this book, even though it took me about 500 pages or so to really get the rhythm of it. Of course that means I should probably re-read the first 500 pages, since I don't remember much of what happened, but that's just not an option right now. At any rate, it's been a fun, what, nine months or so of reading, or at least trying to read, a little bit whenever I could, until I really hit my stride at around page 600 and knocked off 300 pages in a week. And I was wood wroth out of measure that it took me that long to figure out what was going on. By the end, I had gotten a good handle on it and was able to fully appreciate the tragedy of the story. I do have a complaint, and a recommendation to anyone who wants to enchieve this goodly quest. Complaint: the quest for the Holy Grail took about 50 pages, and it was, like, the freakin' easiest quest in the book. And could have been a lot easier if anyone paid attention to what was going on around them half the time - maybe they would have realized that they knew where the frakking thing was all along. Sigh. Maybe if a woman had been involved... I have to think that if Dame Elaine had been consulted, she would have smacked Launcelot, Galahad, Percivale and Bors upside the head and said something along the lines of, "Do I have to do EVERYTHING around here?" Recommendation: I typically read two books at once - a big fat hardcover at home and a paperback on the way to work. As it happens, the paperback that I have been reading the last week or so on the subway is Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court. Reading the parody of Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur alongside the original actually has been very helpful - Twain kindly defines some of the Ye Olde English words for you and cracks you up with his take on the discomforts of wearing armor and the silly simplicity of most of the people in Ye Olde England. He definitely captures the head-shaking aspect of certain parts of the book - and I'm glad that he gave a shoutout to La Cote Male Taile, whose story was one of the few that I remembered from the first half of Malory's version - who could forget that shrew that the poor guy had to put up with? Reading Mark Twain alongside Sir Thomas actually clarifies Sir Thomas quite a bit and makes the original a little easier to read. Happy questing!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    It happened one Pentecost when King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table had all assembled at the castle of Kynke Kenadonne and were waiting, as was customary, for some unusual event to occur before settling down to the feast, that Sir Gawain saw through the window three gentlemen riding toward the castle, accompanied by a dwarf. I fully expected to dislike this book. The prospect of five hundred pages of jousting knights struck me as endlessly tedious, and I only opened the book out of a It happened one Pentecost when King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table had all assembled at the castle of Kynke Kenadonne and were waiting, as was customary, for some unusual event to occur before settling down to the feast, that Sir Gawain saw through the window three gentlemen riding toward the castle, accompanied by a dwarf. I fully expected to dislike this book. The prospect of five hundred pages of jousting knights struck me as endlessly tedious, and I only opened the book out of a sense of respect for its status as a classic. But immediately I found myself entranced. This is a thoroughly engrossing read. And I should not have been surprised, since it delves so heartily into the two staples of popular entertainment: sex and violence. Indeed, one of the most amusing aspects of this book is how completely out of harmony is the chivalric code with the Christian religion; the characters do nothing but mate and slaughter, while the name of “Jesu” is on everybody’s lips. Sir Thomas Malory assembled Le Morte d’Arthur out of several pre-existing legends, some of which he translated from French manuscripts, with a few stories of his invention thrown in. His major innovation was to arrange these traditional tales into a semi-coherent order, beginning with Arthur’s ascension to the throne and ending with his death at the hands of his son. The result is a patchwork of stories nested within stories, all told at a pace which, to a modern reader, can seem ludicrous. Major developments occur on every page, one after the other, in a staccato rhythm which can make the stories appear bluntly humorous, even if it was not Malory’s intention. The world depicted in these pages is so frankly unreal, the level of violence so constant and gratuitous, that its final impression is that of a cartoon: “They fought once more and Sir Tristram killed his opponent. Then, running over to his son, he swiftly beheaded him too.” Daily life is entirely hidden from view. There are no peasants, no merchants, no artisans; there are no friends or happy families. There are only questing knights, heavily armed men who are obsessed with challenging one another. And though they profess a knightly code of conduct, even the most chivalrous of knights are seen to be unscrupulous murderers and, with few exceptions, unrepentant adulterers. The hero of this book, Sir Launcelot, feels very few pangs of guilt for continuously sleeping with his liege’s wife, Gwynevere; and he is the best of knights. But the characters are so flat, their actions so stereotyped, their lives so monotonously dramatic, that I found it impossible to view them as moral actors, praiseworthy or damnable. They are, rather, centers of this bizarre world that Malory constructs. And it certainly is an exciting place. Monsters, magicians, enchantresses, prophesies, curses, visions, and of course endless combat and manic love—the small isle of Britain can hardly contain it all. Sure, there are parts of the book that drag, particularly during the tournaments. Malory’s descriptions of combat are heavily stylized, consisting of the same basic elements over and over again; and, as in the Iliad, large engagements are pictured as a series of individual contests between heroic foes. But for the most part Malory combines his traditional motifs together dexterously, enlivening larger stories with innumerable episodes, creating a raucous forward momentum. As a result of all this, I greatly enjoyed Le Morte d’Arthur, even if it was not for the reasons that Malory intended. I found the book delightfully absurd, almost parody of itself, a sort of whimsical fantasy novel. What Malory hoped to convey with these stories—whether they are supposed to represent a model of heroism, an ironic comment on violence, or a response to the Wars of the Roses—I cannot say; but his book is better than any television show I know.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    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 th 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.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    El

    (I read this book as part of a reading project I have undertaken with some other nerdy friends in which we read The Novel: A Biography and some of the other texts referenced by Schmidt.) This book reads like some jag-off had some time to kill in prison and was just putting words down on paper to keep himself from being super bored. Oh, wait. So no one really knows who Thomas Malory was, apparently, which is a story in and of itself much more interesting than this collection of loosely connected tho (I read this book as part of a reading project I have undertaken with some other nerdy friends in which we read The Novel: A Biography and some of the other texts referenced by Schmidt.) This book reads like some jag-off had some time to kill in prison and was just putting words down on paper to keep himself from being super bored. Oh, wait. So no one really knows who Thomas Malory was, apparently, which is a story in and of itself much more interesting than this collection of loosely connected thoughts. Consensus is that Malory was probably this one guy who did a bunch of bad things and spent a lot of time in jail, so I'm also going to go with that idea because I can't be bothered to think about this much more than I already have. Point is, apparently in the 15th-century the name Thomas Malory was sort of like John Smith, without the benefit of Facebook or Google to narrow things down, so what we know about Malory may actually be a composite of a bunch of other Thomas Malories running around at the time. Again - whatever. Then this other guy, William Caxton, came along and broke this behemoth into various Books inside, and published the whole thing after Malory died. So, that happened. I don't really know who to blame overall, but this book is crazy boring. I wanted to enjoy it so much, and believe me, early language doesn't normally bother me. But this was such a drag. Each sentence started either with the word "Then" or "And", so it was (paraphrasing here, as well as modernizing) all "And then Launcelot said 'Yo'. Then King Arthur fell off his horse. And then damosels." Y'know, pretty much like that, for 938 pages, as though written by a child with no expressive vocabulary. The chapters are short (thank GOD), so if you give yourself some time you can breeze through quite a few at once, unless you become so bored you forget what day it is and your eyes begin to bleed. The Books themselves that Caxton created were much longer at times, or once in a while super short; I guess just to fuck with us. My boyfriend had this argument going for the four months I read this book about how can't be boring since Malory just took information from all those French people who wrote about this stuff first, and that might be true, except you know how there's always that one person who comes into a fun conversation and sucks the fun right out of the room? Like every single time? I think Malory was that guy. Everyone would be standing around the 15th-century version of a water cooler shooting the shit and whatnot, and here comes Sir Malory to, I don't know, rape someone, and it's all "Man, who invited Tommy??" I give this book two stars not because I actually enjoyed much of it (though the bit about Launcelot getting shot in the ass with an arrow amused me enough to read that section a few times - shut up, he had it coming), but because I can appreciate the importance of it in the realm of literature, etc. etc. Oh, and it aches me to say that. The first book I read for this project of mine was The Travels of Sir John Mandeville which was published in the 14th-century, and I have to say that store was much more rich than this one was. Which is crazy, right? Because we all know about King Arthur and Camelot and the knights of the Round Table, and it should all be dashing and exciting. For fuck's sake, there was nothing dashing or exciting about it by Malory's account. But it's one more step towards the modern novel as we know it and love it today, so huzzah for that. Hence the second star. (The second star may also symbolize just how fucking happy I am to be done reading it.) Also, Malory didn't even tell the story right. I mean, how do you leave out the most important scene in Arthurian history? Seriously. But, yes, let's talk about one more joust, because those weren't represented nearly enough in this story. Again, keep in mind it's just talking about. Malory was not about show-not-tell back then, clearly. Next up: The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, Sir Philip Sidney Actually, I just realized I also intended to read Utopia, Thomas More, for the second chapter in Schmidt's book. So I will head that direction before hitting Sidney.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Clarissa Olivarez

    This is the ONLY version of Le Morte d'Arthur that you should EVER read. Complete with Early Modern English and absolutely NO dumbing down of the material. Great stuff.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    cross-posted at booklikes and the mo-centric universe. my copy of le morte d'arthur is the classic and complete vinaver edit and i highly recommend it. i haven't read it in years but picking it up now, i assure you this copy is well-thumbed and annotated from my first reading in university. in the first fifty pages, i have written in a very small hand above words to explain their meanings, as i did when reading other, older middle english works much more difficult to ken. still, i smile when i s cross-posted at booklikes and the mo-centric universe. my copy of le morte d'arthur is the classic and complete vinaver edit and i highly recommend it. i haven't read it in years but picking it up now, i assure you this copy is well-thumbed and annotated from my first reading in university. in the first fifty pages, i have written in a very small hand above words to explain their meanings, as i did when reading other, older middle english works much more difficult to ken. still, i smile when i see that i have copied from the glossary "provoked" over "syke" which rings so closely to our modern "psych!". eventually the notations taper off, as i began to get the rhythm and word structures set in my head but there is pencil-underlining throughout the texts, and bright-pink pen underlining some of the notes at the back. i see here that i argued with some of the notes in the margins. i read the hell out of this book, twice. there is a major crack in the spine at page 519, in book 8 of "the quest for the holy grail" or more properly the "Sankgreall". i find i even made the time to draw a two-tone flower on the page thickness, and more faintly, a pencil one-eyed monster eye, and a triton. i had always had a soft spot for Arthurian legend and i was thrilled to read Malory's translation of the French tales in English. despite the lengthy and repetitive lists of who slaughtered whom in battle after battle, i loved reading it. i have always been interested in questions of honour and what is right, for the individual, and what he must forsake for the right to honour in his community as a whole. there is both blame and beauty in this book, and notes i scribbled in its blank pages at the end show i was preoccupied with these ideas, of camelot as a dream, and arthur's inability to ignore the slights to his own personal honour in order to protect it. the last lines i underlined are these: "And therefore, seyde the king, wyte you well, my harte was never so hevy as hyte ys now. And much more I am soryar for my good knytes losse than for the losse of my fayre queen; for quenys I myghte have inow, but such a felyship of good knytes shall never be togydirs in no company. And now i dare sey, seyde the kynge Arthur, there was never Crystyn kynge that ever hylde such a felyship togydyrs. And alas, that ever sir Launcelot and I shulde be at debate! A, Aggravayne, Aggravayne,! seyd the kynge, Jesu forgyff hit thy soule, for thyne evyll wyll that thou haddist and sir Mordred, thy brother, unto sir Launcelot hath caused all this sorow. And ever among thes complayntes the kynge wept and sowned." This work by Maureen de Sousa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Of all the patriarchal, Christianity biased interpretations of Arthurian myth, this is the most misogynistic. Yes, I know one must judge a book by it's time period, but if ever a book infuriated me by illustrating the virgin-whore paradigm, this one has. Not only do most of the female characters completely fail to have names, but those that do are either shrewish sluts or purely chaste and looking to die for God. Also, Sir Gawain is ruined. Also, Merlin is the son of the devil. Also, the Lady of Of all the patriarchal, Christianity biased interpretations of Arthurian myth, this is the most misogynistic. Yes, I know one must judge a book by it's time period, but if ever a book infuriated me by illustrating the virgin-whore paradigm, this one has. Not only do most of the female characters completely fail to have names, but those that do are either shrewish sluts or purely chaste and looking to die for God. Also, Sir Gawain is ruined. Also, Merlin is the son of the devil. Also, the Lady of the Lake is first killed by one of Arthur's knights and then later--for no explained reason--Nyneve, who buries Merlin alive because he loves her. Although I hadn't realized that the story of Tristram and Iseult was told in this book, because one does not think of Tristram as a knight of the round table. I found the depiction of King Mark as treacherous and evil to make for somewhat disappointing tale. Indeed, overall I found this to be a disappointing retelling, not merely because of the plot, but for the telling itself. With the exception of one truly awesome giant disemboweling by King Arthur, the fight scenes were a lot of "Sir Somebody knocked King Thatguy down and broke his lance, but was therefore able to rehorse Sir So-and-so." Fight scenes should not be as dry as biblical lineages. As a retelling of the Arthurian legends, I have to recommend pretty much any other book on the subject.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I decided to review Le Morte d'Arthur, even though it has been SO long since I read it. I don't remember everything, but I remember how how fascinating it was. It was a hard read; I remember that. I remember why I decided to read it, too. I had been browsing in the library, and I happened to see the book on some obscure shelf and I noticed it was misfiled. I thought to myself, "is that in French?" Fast forward to the next day at my state Knowledge Bowl competition (please no nerd jokes here, I'm I decided to review Le Morte d'Arthur, even though it has been SO long since I read it. I don't remember everything, but I remember how how fascinating it was. It was a hard read; I remember that. I remember why I decided to read it, too. I had been browsing in the library, and I happened to see the book on some obscure shelf and I noticed it was misfiled. I thought to myself, "is that in French?" Fast forward to the next day at my state Knowledge Bowl competition (please no nerd jokes here, I'm well aware of the situation), and there was a question about the compiled origin of the King Arther tales. Now, I wasn't the fastest girl on the buzzer, but I guess no one else had any guesses because before I knew it, the judge was looking at me and saying, "well?" So I blurted out the only King Arthur book I could think of, despite it being in a different language (so I thought). Well, that was the right answer, and we won the round. I was pretty uncomfortable with everyone staring at me pretty weird after that (if the nerds think you're a nerd, where do you go then?), so I decided to go read the book so that I could say I had read it. Anyway, that was a dumb story, but a REALLY interesting book. The tales of King Arthur are fascinating, and hold an allegory of the atonement of Christ. So, if you're into that stuff (fairy tales & Christianity...not state Knowledge Bowl) you might enjoy the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sky

    As a piece of engaging fiction Le Morte D'Arthur is bound to disappoint unless you are unabashedly entertained by similar cycles of knights questing again and again. Structurally Mallory's work is repetitive and contains a questionable moral structure. But as an origin of British legends and the development of the English Language it is an essential work. Its been interesting for me to look at one of the most definitive entries into the canon of England's national pride but it becomes strange whe As a piece of engaging fiction Le Morte D'Arthur is bound to disappoint unless you are unabashedly entertained by similar cycles of knights questing again and again. Structurally Mallory's work is repetitive and contains a questionable moral structure. But as an origin of British legends and the development of the English Language it is an essential work. Its been interesting for me to look at one of the most definitive entries into the canon of England's national pride but it becomes strange when each knight seems to have their own chivalric code that may change depending on that particular knight's own whims, especially Sir Tristram. Though this knight is seen by the author as incredibly valiant by the author, when it suits his purpose he sleeps with other men's wives, kills, and even breaks oaths. Though these things may seem commonplace today, it seems significantly contrary to the high moral purpose which Mallory attributes to his heroes. Still, a very interesting read if you can get past the irony.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    It drags at times but its the legend of King Arthur and his knights. This audiobook was a whopping 19 hours. I will likely listen to this again. OVERALL GRADE: B to B plus.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    King Arthur and Merlin are some of my favorite characters yet somehow I had never read this book. Now I can officially say that it's definitely worth reading. Yes, it is very long, repetitive, meandering, and featuring many character with similar names, but it is still incredibly magical to explore for the first time. Now I feel like digging into more stories featuring the King Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I still have trouble believing I made it all the way through this. I really did have to struggle through it, and I feel bad saying that because this is a classic. It might not be the oldest written form of Arthurian Legend, but it what all others are based on. It's obviously a classic. However, it was written in the 1490s (yes, that's right, I said 1490s). A lot simply wasn't invented yet. For example, the quotation mark, or any punctuation except for a period. Also, there are a lot of archaic w I still have trouble believing I made it all the way through this. I really did have to struggle through it, and I feel bad saying that because this is a classic. It might not be the oldest written form of Arthurian Legend, but it what all others are based on. It's obviously a classic. However, it was written in the 1490s (yes, that's right, I said 1490s). A lot simply wasn't invented yet. For example, the quotation mark, or any punctuation except for a period. Also, there are a lot of archaic words, like "fain", that aren't really used in English anymore. If you're a King Arthur completist and have to read everything ever written concerning him, I'd check this out but you really do have to work at it. If you're looking to kick back and relax you'd be better off reading one of the more modern adaptations, not for the story, just for the language and punctuation which are both huge hurdles.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Warwick

    It's a great edition of the text with excellent secondary materials and essays. However, I am very disappointed that an edition which advertises itself as being "unabridged" and in "original spelling" in fact silently emends all yoghs and thorns to gh and th. Use of u/v and i/j has also been ‘modernized’. It seems utterly bizarre to go to the lengths of reproducing such trivial features as Lombardic rubrication, when the Middle English alphabet this work was written in has been edited out.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rick Davis

    I read through this book the first time in 11th grade and many times since.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    Ugh. Finally done. I ploughed through the first couple "books" of this as an audio book. Calling it quits. Good riddance. There are so many names and interactions flying by that it's hard to grab hold of anything and stay invested long-term. All the characters, men and women alike, seem like nothing but cheap stereotypes (not even an archetype, for that would be deeper) -- everyone is either an honorable knight, a backstabbing knight, the mysterious magician, the virtuous maiden, or a lusty witch Ugh. Finally done. I ploughed through the first couple "books" of this as an audio book. Calling it quits. Good riddance. There are so many names and interactions flying by that it's hard to grab hold of anything and stay invested long-term. All the characters, men and women alike, seem like nothing but cheap stereotypes (not even an archetype, for that would be deeper) -- everyone is either an honorable knight, a backstabbing knight, the mysterious magician, the virtuous maiden, or a lusty witch. Because we don't spend enough time with any one person (besides Arthur, maybe) we don't have time to explore deep character development, so everyone feels shallow and vapid. I really should rate this two stars, just for its pretty language and generic literary merit. I get why this is a classic in old English literature, but I still don't see the inherent value in reading the full thing, unless you're a dissertation student, maybe. Just read a summary of each book, and you won't miss anything. Or go read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight instead. I don't even know how far I got (Books One and Two?), But I've no plans to read more.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    The mind-numbing repetitiveness and unrelenting brutality of "Le Morte D'arthur" make it absolute hell to read. However, it also contains moments of sublime imagination and stands as a remarkable synthesis of the Arthurian legends. "Le Morte D'arthur" has inspired countless better works. My favourites would be Wagner's "Parisfal" and "Tristand und Isolde". Malory's anthology continues to have enormous influence on Europe's poets, composers, painters and novelists. It is arguably well worth the t The mind-numbing repetitiveness and unrelenting brutality of "Le Morte D'arthur" make it absolute hell to read. However, it also contains moments of sublime imagination and stands as a remarkable synthesis of the Arthurian legends. "Le Morte D'arthur" has inspired countless better works. My favourites would be Wagner's "Parisfal" and "Tristand und Isolde". Malory's anthology continues to have enormous influence on Europe's poets, composers, painters and novelists. It is arguably well worth the tremendous effort required to slog through it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Ricker

    I read Morte D'Arthur, or most of it anyway, a very long time ago. I remember not being all that enthused and a bit bored at the endless jousting. Really, there are only so many ways to make getting poked by a stick and falling of a horse sound good, guys. However, reading it now for Medieval Lit, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it very much. The jousting was still boring (sorry, Malory), but the characterization was fascinating. Arthur is so painfully young at the beginning and really ha I read Morte D'Arthur, or most of it anyway, a very long time ago. I remember not being all that enthused and a bit bored at the endless jousting. Really, there are only so many ways to make getting poked by a stick and falling of a horse sound good, guys. However, reading it now for Medieval Lit, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it very much. The jousting was still boring (sorry, Malory), but the characterization was fascinating. Arthur is so painfully young at the beginning and really has no idea what he's doing even as he's trying to be the hero. Merlin is really the one keeping the kingdom together as every Tom, Dick, and Harry think that they can wrest the throne away from the boy king. The Lancelot/Guinevere/Arthur thing didn't bother me as much this time around; Lancelot is so conflicted and grief-stricken over his actions, you can't help but feel sorry for him. This was not a light-hearted fling. This was 25 years of misery, knowing that he was betraying his best friend and lord, yet completely unable to tear himself away from Guinevere. Deeply unhappy people all around, as Arthur loves both of them but has to do his duty, and eventually the three tear the kingdom apart between them. And yet, I can see why Tennyson chose this subject to write an epic poem about. Malory's brief tangent about how love today is not as it was in the days of Arthur, when men and women knew what devotion was, is beautiful. The whole thing is deeply touching in points, and if you don't get shivers reading about the death of Arthur, check and make sure you're still breathing: "Here lies Arthur, the once and future King."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Alas! who can trust this world? - Sir Launcelot du Lake Malory recounts epic episodes of tournaments, aimless adventures, noble quests, conquests and civil war. Magical prophets and incestuous adulteries plague the royal court but let the world remember Arthur as the once and future king! Despite the sometimes ridiculous episodes of knight-errantry, I did learn to respect the chivalry and the knight's code which governs the events and exposes admirable characteristics among soldiers and economic Alas! who can trust this world? - Sir Launcelot du Lake Malory recounts epic episodes of tournaments, aimless adventures, noble quests, conquests and civil war. Magical prophets and incestuous adulteries plague the royal court but let the world remember Arthur as the once and future king! Despite the sometimes ridiculous episodes of knight-errantry, I did learn to respect the chivalry and the knight's code which governs the events and exposes admirable characteristics among soldiers and economic nobility. Though I can't imagine myself gallivanting off with a pot-bellied Spanish servant seeking adventures in chivalry, I surely hope I can embody the integrity and courage of many of these knights. I learned in this edition's introduction that Malory employed himself as a knight, of sorts, in England during the War of the Roses - a time when men belittled codes of honor and glorified force and ambition above all else. Malory initially fought for the house of York, who later imprisoned him for shifting his allegiance to Lancaster and the lineage of Henrys. I often wondered if Malory had modeled his King Arthur after Henry VI, a pious man who allowed his counselors to guide his decisions in matters of law and state even when they countered his naturally loving heart. Of course, this real king may have served as a model but Arthur stands alone as a beacon of just and compassionate civilizations everywhere. Malory seems to stylistically mimic the Bible's Old Testament and his plots mirror those of The Thousand and One Nights. The book begins with Merlin and the birth of Arthur. Other than to insinuate that the Devil begot Merlin, Malory tells us little of his personal character. Instead, he uses Merlin as a prophet, a seer, who often appears disguised as a vagabond and conscientiously shapes Arthur's destiny. Honestly, Malory disappointed me with Merlin's sparse appearances and less than epically magical deeds. Then I thought of Merlin as a representation the world in which Arthur would build his idealistic civilization. After all, if Merlin can disguise himself as anyone, he can be anyone in the world. And as a symbol of the world, he must embody all the mysteries of time and science which Malory might represent as magic. And though Merlin serves as a seer, Malory does not imply that Merlin guides Arthur with any moral or immoral intentions. Of course, men consider morals while the world simply cycles over, even depends on what men might call "bad" in order for new life to spring up. Merlin only intends for Arthur to become King, neither for good reasons or bad reasons. Like the earth, Merlin simply lives and moves. However, as the narrative plunges along, we witness the rise of the greatest and fairest civilization ever known and then its demise from deceit and ambition. Merlin might console Arthur by saying that all things must live and die and that one can only truly trust in this cycle. Even Rome fell (and by the hand of Arthur to hear Malory tell it). Yet from these characters' choices during this cycle we see some truths of our condition, our desires and our values. Arthur builds the envy of Christendom - a kingdom of fairness and prosperity. Law governs the land and even the king must abide by them along with the same code of chivalry in which his knights believe so faithfully. By raising these virtues above himself, by attributing the true power of the land to these virtues rather than to his own person, he creates a world which ultimately must take care of itself. He need not intercede on the behalf of those in his realm since his knights and all civilians can depend on justice and fairness ruling over them. They enjoy a time of peace when they can afford to go questing, fight amongst themselves and batter each other in tournaments. But when the peace wains, and civil war breaks out over the love between Launcelot and Gwynevere, Arthur himself does very little. Of course, he and Sir Gawain lead their armies against Launcelot, but only because of Sir Gawain's insistence and counseling since Launcelot mistakenly kills his two brothers. The code of revenge, something engrained deeply in the fabric of Arthur's ideal civilization, trumps Arthur's natural inclination to forgive and reconcile with those he loves most in the world, despite their trespasses. The code of the realm he built forces him to listen to Gawain and he can only weep for Launcelot and Gwynevere. Civil war rages. Since Arthur has become legend, even myth, I will entertain some ideas forthwith which may seem far-fetched. But, if this story does not say anything about the world in a manner of absolute certainty, it undoubtedly says something about our condition within the world and how we cope with and wrestle with our place within it. Arthur weeps and follows the advise of Sir Gawain, his nephew, in pursuing Launcelot. I asked myself, Why won't Arthur just call this off? Why won't he exercise his power, snap his fingers and tell everyone to sit down, shut up, and listen to how things will go? Why won't he intercede? I noticed how closely these questions resemble expressions of people who wonder why God won't intercede against all the evil on earth. With Malory's heavy interweaving of Christianity into the legend, I began thinking of the story's climax and conclusion in terms of the mythical archetype and how Arthur might represent God, only in so far as God ruling a realm. He loves Launcelot and Gwynevere, but must allow the rules of his creation to run their course, even if those rules break his heart. If Arthur can represent the mythical archetype of Father God, perhaps Gwynevere could represent Mother Earth and Launcelot, mankind - a people who fall in love with Earth which brings about the rift between themselves and Father God. In any case, Malory drafts Launcelot as Arthur's pride and the pinnacle of knighthood, then as the source of Arthur's, and arguably Camelot's, downfall. Of course, Launcelot does not bear an ounce of malice in his heart and loves Arthur with his entire being, but introducing deception into a mix of honor and chivalry sets in motion events which result in the utter collapse of a world. While Arthur devotes himself to raising the perfect civilization, Launcelot remains devoted to perfecting himself according to the faith he has in Arthur and his ideals. Their individual devotions to their boons match only their devotion to each other which makes the resulting catastrophe nearly unbearable to witness. But the world takes over and it seems Arthur would cease playing Creator and Launcelot, Protector, to become pawns in the world's cyclical nature. Whether this legend bears historical influences from Malory's experiences or the timeless voices of universal mythical archetypes, the reader still finds the joys and suffering of humanity within this fantasy and dares to hope for a day when a mystical vagabond enters a white house, palace or court to begin anew.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sean DeLauder

    I started reading this book almost 20 years ago, but made the mistake of reading T.H. White's The Once and Future King first. The difference in prose between a book written in the 1950s (White) and a book written in the 15th century (Malory) was so stark as to make this book nigh impenetrable. Needless to say, my memory of the book is having read up through a battle that seemed like a series of people losing their horses and going to get another in order to lose their horse again. The story read I started reading this book almost 20 years ago, but made the mistake of reading T.H. White's The Once and Future King first. The difference in prose between a book written in the 1950s (White) and a book written in the 15th century (Malory) was so stark as to make this book nigh impenetrable. Needless to say, my memory of the book is having read up through a battle that seemed like a series of people losing their horses and going to get another in order to lose their horse again. The story read like a baseball box score in paragraph form. For example (purely by memory): Sir X rode into battle and killed 10 people, then had his horse killed. He left battle and returned with another horse, and killed 10 more people before losing his horse again. Sir Y also had a pretty good day in battle, killing 15 people, then losing a horse, then returning to kill Sir Z, who had killed 20 people up to that point. Very dry. I can see myself giving it another try eventually, simply because the legends are so fascinating, but I can't see myself getting up a hill this steep.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    It took me a long time to get through this unabridged, untranslated version of Le Morte Darthur, but it is -- for the most part, anyway -- worth it. The fact that Malory himself gave up on Tristan is a fair indication of that, and of course this is a hyper-masculine text and there are dozens of loving descriptions of battles and jousts, but the story of Arthur is, to my mind, one of the most powerful stories we tell (second only to that of Christ, in my mind). Nothing can bury that, not even a b It took me a long time to get through this unabridged, untranslated version of Le Morte Darthur, but it is -- for the most part, anyway -- worth it. The fact that Malory himself gave up on Tristan is a fair indication of that, and of course this is a hyper-masculine text and there are dozens of loving descriptions of battles and jousts, but the story of Arthur is, to my mind, one of the most powerful stories we tell (second only to that of Christ, in my mind). Nothing can bury that, not even a bad writer, and Malory wasn't that. A writer very much of his time, yes, but the work that inspired Tennyson, White and Steinbeck is obviously worth a look... The Norton edition is a good one, as usual, with helpful glosses, notes, and supplementary material. For pleasure, I do recommend an abridged version of Malory, but for study I'd definitely suggest this.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Not quite read, but used as a reference along with more modern editions of Malory. The drawings by Aubrey Beardsley are remarkable and the raison d'être for this edition.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    * March 6, 2012 I read through T.H. White's version of Arthur and then came back to this one by Malory. I think Malory's is dramatically better. The complex nature of Guinevere, Lancelot, and Arthur I found to feel more inspiring here as Lancelot eventually does swear off Guinevere (as shown when he refuses to kiss her at her request, towards the end of the book), whereas in White's version Lancelot never manages to swear her off on his own. * July 27, 2011 Note: When I wrote the commentary below, I * March 6, 2012 I read through T.H. White's version of Arthur and then came back to this one by Malory. I think Malory's is dramatically better. The complex nature of Guinevere, Lancelot, and Arthur I found to feel more inspiring here as Lancelot eventually does swear off Guinevere (as shown when he refuses to kiss her at her request, towards the end of the book), whereas in White's version Lancelot never manages to swear her off on his own. * July 27, 2011 Note: When I wrote the commentary below, I really did not understand Malory's depiction of the love affair between Lancelot and Guinevere. After giving it time and study, I find it to be a shallow, thoughtless, and self-gratifying study. It's almost as if he tossed the whole 'cheating on their best friend/husband' thing aside so that he could turn Lancelot into the hero Malory wanted Lancelot to be. The story still has great merit, but that particular aspect of the story was not truthful. Still, I did enjoy the mythopoeic nature of the story exceedingly. * Began reading abridged version, second time, January 15, 2011 Finished March 31, 2011 Notes: O.k. I really do not understand Guinever and Lancelot's relationship. The medieval idea of a a "saintly" courtly lover having four qualities: humility, courtesy, involvement in an adulterous relationship, and practicing the religion of love is, according to my beliefs, downright crazy. Anyone out there understand this theme in the story better than I do? * First review - August 7, 2010: Malory's rendition of the tale of King Arthur and the round table was thoroughly enjoyable. It was beautifully crafted, delicate in its transitions from fairy tale to verisimilar fiction, and masterful in its storytelling. The scenes surrounding the attainment of the holy grail were particularly memorable. The image of Percival's lifeless sister floating in an unguided boat towards the castle of the holy grail, with the dishonorable and prideful Lancelot therein by God's command was deserving of a Peter Jackson film all in itself. The scenes surrounding the penultimate climax of Sir Galahad, Sir Percival, and Sir Bor's attainment of the grail were so short, perhaps only 80 pages (out of a thousand), and somehow their succinct nature enhanced the visuals four times over. It was beautiful. I'll quickly run out of superlatives talking about the book, but there were many parts that also troubled me. I had a strong preconception about Lancelot from having recently read T.H. White's rendition of the tale. His version of Lancelot was less satisfying to me, and it wasn't until the end of reading Malory's rendition that I really understood more of Lancelot and Guinevere's characters. I understood more thoroughly Guinevere's mindset: she was truly the most beautiful and intelligent woman in all of England, and because she never lacked or had any weaknesses other than spiritual ones, it took her longer to recognize her own religion and dependence on her creator. When she finally lost her true, covenanted husband, then she finally realized what a fool she was, and that it was foolish to cling to Lancelot like a fancy trophy. When she realized this, then Lancelot did too. I could definitely read this book again. I would like to understand more of the story, especially the character portraits. It's a great read. I listened to it on audio, read by Frederick Davidson. He doesn't do the story justice, but its an adequate reading (I imagine that they had a small budget when created the recording as they didn't expect many people to buy an unabridged version of the story).

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Le Morte d'Arthur! The foremost compendium of Arthurian legend in the English language. 800 or so pages of "justing" and "worshypful dedis" aplenty. When Malory was in prison he set himself the rather daunting task of compiling almost the entirety of Arthurian legend up to that point into a somewhat cohesive whole. Now, before I go on, be under no illusions here, while this is in prose, and it can indeed be seen as a proto-novel, you will be sorely disappointed if you expect it to act like a nov Le Morte d'Arthur! The foremost compendium of Arthurian legend in the English language. 800 or so pages of "justing" and "worshypful dedis" aplenty. When Malory was in prison he set himself the rather daunting task of compiling almost the entirety of Arthurian legend up to that point into a somewhat cohesive whole. Now, before I go on, be under no illusions here, while this is in prose, and it can indeed be seen as a proto-novel, you will be sorely disappointed if you expect it to act like a novel. What this is is a series of loosely chronological stories ranging from the time of Arthur's birth, to his inevitable death (hence the title), with many tangents inbetween relating to other knights of Arthur's court. As a whole, Le Morte d'Arthur is incredibly impressive, and if you are looking for a good place to start with regard to the story of King Arthur and his knights, then look no further because this has (albeit sometimes in brief) the whole lot; Lancelot and Guinevere, the sword in the stone, lady of the lake, excalibur, the holy grail, you name it. That is not to say however that there are not places where the compiled and concentrated nature of this text doesn't come through. For example, while many sections of the text are positively entralling, you will get sick of hearing about jousting very quickly, and some sections of the text are worse than others for this (Tristram's section is the worst for this). It was never enough to make me stop reading, but it did come to a point where I would inwardly shudder every time it was proclaimed that a great tournament was to be held. This is to be expected though. Sir. Thomas Malory was a knight writing in prison, not poetical masterclass, and this comes across in his prose, with the main part of this being a fixation on the jousting element of the legends. Make no mistake though, when Malory is good, he is very good. The section on the quest for the holy grail and the chapter where Arthur decides to fight the Romans were my favourites. So if you are on the fence over whether this is worth reading or not, it is most certainly worth it. If you have even a passing interest in Arthurian legend, and particularly if you enjoy mediaeval texts, you will find this book incredibly enjoyable, and almost all subsequent adaptations of the Arthur story pay lip service to it. Now a note on editions. This is a very late mediaeval text, and as such I would wholeheartedly recommend that everybody reads the real deal, since it is far easier to read than Chaucer, and in my opinion even easier to read than Shakespeare. So to that end, the "Malory Complete Works" edition edited by Vinaver that I have reviewed is the best, as it is based on the oldest extant manuscript (not Caxton's edition), and doesn't modernise all the spellings as in the other editions (except replacing the thorns and yoghs with modern letters). But honestly, read it anyway even if you can't obtain this edition. It most certainly lives up to its length!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    I really wanted to like this book, I did. It started out promising enough, with Arthur's campaigns against the British kings, the King of France, and the Roman Empire, and then the adventures of the various knights. Then Lancelot showed up, and immediately began to dominate the narrative. Knight is in danger? Lancelot happens by and saves him without even breaking a sweat. But I could cope with that. Then Tristram showed up. He was basically a carbon-copy of Lancelot, down to the 'affair with my I really wanted to like this book, I did. It started out promising enough, with Arthur's campaigns against the British kings, the King of France, and the Roman Empire, and then the adventures of the various knights. Then Lancelot showed up, and immediately began to dominate the narrative. Knight is in danger? Lancelot happens by and saves him without even breaking a sweat. But I could cope with that. Then Tristram showed up. He was basically a carbon-copy of Lancelot, down to the 'affair with my king's wife' plot. Only, instead of this being a real conflict, Mark is turned into a villain, never mind that he's the one that's been wronged. In contrast to Tristram is Palamedes, who's also in love with Iseult, and is far more sympathetic because she won't even give him the time of day. Why am I supposed to like Tristram again? And on top of all that, the section focusing on Tristram and Iseult is the longest single portion of the book, so I was stuck reading about how wonderful Tristram was for well over a hundered pages. And then there was Galahad, who literally showed up and sat in a chair and was proclaimed "the greatest knight ever". Luckily he was only there for the Grail Quest, but he still got on my nerves, because every character just kept talking about how wonderful and amazing he was. Never mind that there were two other knights who also found the Grail, Galahad was the only one who mattered. Then it was back to Lancelot and how wonderful he was. I was actually glad when he and Guinevere were caught, because then there would be some real conflict. But no - every one wants Arthur to forgive Lancelot, including the Pope. The only character who seems to remember that what Lancelot did (namely, have an affair with the queen and kill three members of the Round Table) is Gawain, and even he eventually forgives Lancelot. I'd hoped that once the action moved back to England and the war with Mordred that I wouldn't have to read about Lancelot again, but I was wrong. Arthur dies, and the last ten pages are devoted to what Lancelot does, which boils down to "becomes a monk and dies of old age", dragging along a bunch of other knights with him. And he even gets sanctified. That's right - the man most responsible (directly or indirectly) for the downfall of King Arthur and the deaths of pretty much every other character, somehow becomes a saint. If I had a time machine, I'd go back and smack Malory upside the head and tell him how stupid that was. I'm only giving it two stars because, when the narrative wasn't focusing on Lancelot, Tristram, or Galahad, it was actually interresting and entertaining.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    Took FOREVER to finish. Normally that's a bad thing, but I totally needed all that time to get through it. I think I plowed through 100 pages or slightly more today just to have it done. I desperately want to get started on something else. After reading this, I can't see where any of the legends we know of as King Arthur come from. Yeah, most of us are familiar with either Spamalot or Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There are most definitely traces of those in here. I can see where they pulled t Took FOREVER to finish. Normally that's a bad thing, but I totally needed all that time to get through it. I think I plowed through 100 pages or slightly more today just to have it done. I desperately want to get started on something else. After reading this, I can't see where any of the legends we know of as King Arthur come from. Yeah, most of us are familiar with either Spamalot or Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There are most definitely traces of those in here. I can see where they pulled their material. But at the same time, they're completely different. What bothered me most was how many names there were to follow, how the story didn't seem to really follow a chronological timeline, and how everyone seemed to live an ungodly long time and still look good. Lancelot had a full grown son and Lancelot still managed to be the best knight for years after his son's death. C'mon. You want to tell me that a guy who's probably oh, 60, is a better fighter than someone 25 or so? I'm not saying it's not possible, but they all can't be that way even if they are Knights of the Round Table. Basically, just the facts not matching up messed with me. We'd be going along with the story, fine and dandy, then it's like, "Oh, this character was killed a long time ago. Sorry." And I think somewhere in the middle of the story, the chronology just started over. What happened?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Kelley

    WOW that guy really took his time dying. & this was the *abridged* version

  29. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    This book was fine in the beginning then about 200 pages in I noticed that Arthur hadn't been in it for about 180 pages, and Merlin even less. You're stuck reading about God knows how many loser knights for so much of this book. The section on Sir Tristram goes on forever and nothing stands out. These idiots keep disguising themselves for no reason, coming across a friend (also disguised), fight each other until near death and only then do they realise that actually they're just best buds disgui This book was fine in the beginning then about 200 pages in I noticed that Arthur hadn't been in it for about 180 pages, and Merlin even less. You're stuck reading about God knows how many loser knights for so much of this book. The section on Sir Tristram goes on forever and nothing stands out. These idiots keep disguising themselves for no reason, coming across a friend (also disguised), fight each other until near death and only then do they realise that actually they're just best buds disguised. "Oh Sir Whatshisface, I beseech your forgiveness, would that I had known the disguised knight was you, I would not have so much thought of harming you." THIS HAPPENS ABOUT ONCE EVERY FIVE PAGES. Stop fighting randoms you meet on the road, you crazy fools! The book picks up near the end, the Grail conquest has some imaginative imagery, and the story of Launcelot and Gwynevere is actually pretty readable (at one point Launcelot b*tchslaps a man to death), and when you finally do get to La Morte D'Arthur it feels suitably epic, so I've brought my rating up to three stars. Doubt I'd ever reread it though.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    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 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.

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