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Author Topic: Le Morte D'Arthur, by Thomas Mallory  (Read 3671 times)

Aram

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Le Morte D'Arthur, by Thomas Mallory
« on: 22 Jan 2006, 12:59 »

Have you guys read htis book? There's so many differnet versions, but I managed to seize control of the original one. The English in this is so weird, but it's an -awesome- book. I love all the descriptions of the jousts and all. The funny thing is, Sir Thomas Mallory was anything but chivalrious. He was a liar, a cheat, and a prisoner. He was a really bad person :P
Any thoughts?
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Disgustipated

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Le Morte D'Arthur, by Thomas Mallory
« Reply #1 on: 22 Jan 2006, 22:13 »

I've read it - I'm not sure which version though.

He actually wrote it while he was in prison.

I like other Arthurian books based on Malory's more than I like his itself - The Mists of Avalon and the Once and Future King. They're easier to read, even if they have less material.
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Aram

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Le Morte D'Arthur, by Thomas Mallory
« Reply #2 on: 22 Jan 2006, 22:32 »

Yeah, I've read The Once and Future king, the Disney movie "The Sword in the stone" was based on it.
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cuchlann

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Le Morte D'Arthur, by Thomas Mallory
« Reply #3 on: 24 Jan 2006, 13:15 »

I haven't read Malory's version yet (yet, I say).  Chretien de Troye compiled the Arthurian stories into a romance before Malory.  Geoffrey of Monmouth is one of the first Arthurian writers, with his History of the Kings of Britain.  Of course, he tried to say Arthur was absolutely real, prophecies, magic, and all. (most of the other kings in his account were real, after all).  Brutus wrote his accounts a little later, and also talks about Arthur.  Both seem to be trying to tie England to the Roman Empire in an age when it was considered a backwater.  

You can always check out the Celtic, Gaulish, and German myths the Arthurian stories are based on.  If you like the Arthur/Guinevere/Launcelot dynamic, the Celtic "Tristan and Iseult" (famously adapted by Wagner, whose version is referenced several times in Eliot's Waste Land).

Malory was the first to write in English, of course.  If you're looking for good modern versions, read Steinbeck's King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table.  Stewart's Crystal Cave is good, though it follows Merlin (I think it was one of the first, if not the first, book to re-tell the Arthurian stories with another character as the protagonist).  There's always Tennyson's fabulous Idylls of the King.

Eliot's Waste Land is actually an Arthurian quest story, set in/around/behind (whatever your opinion is) a post-modern mind.  It's primarily referencing the Fisher King that Percival/Parzival meets.
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deborah

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Le Morte D'Arthur, by Thomas Mallory
« Reply #4 on: 07 Feb 2006, 10:17 »

Malory was also a chauvinist pig, and his portrayals of Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot were hardly flattering.
I'd go with cuchlann's recommendations, and add Courtway Jones' trilogy about Arthur also (In the Shadow of the Oak King, Witch of the North, and Prince of Camelot.)
Chretien de Troyes' Arthurian contribution is called "Lancelot or The Knight of the Cart" and it, funnily enough, centers around Lancelot and not Arthur.
Another earlier poem with Arthurian connections is "Gawain and the Green Knight."  Both of these (unless you're super spanking good at reading Medieval French or Old-Middle English) are best read in a translation - I recommend Ruth Harwood Cline for the de Troyes, and whatever crap they print in the Nortons Anthology is fine for Gawain.

and if that sort of thing floats your boat, check out Spenser's Faerie Queene.  That's another romping good time with Arthurian connections.
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cuchlann

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Le Morte D'Arthur, by Thomas Mallory
« Reply #5 on: 07 Feb 2006, 12:16 »

deborah - re: Gawain and the Green Knight.  That's a good suggestion.  Given that I spent a third of my medieval lit. class discussing that poem, I should have remembered.  

I guess the only caveat is that it's not really a story about Arthur's legend; it's a romance (possibly a critique of the chivalric romance and chivalry in general, depending on your viewpoint) that starts in Arthur's court, as it was the greatest court in the Romantic tradition.  But it's still a great piece.  

Middle English isn't too tough if you have a glossary of words that haven't come through to PDE.  The sentence structure and base words are similar to PDE.  Of course, Gawain is written in a peculiar dialect, native to the region where the bulk of the poem takes place.  

Oh, and the Fairie Queen isn't finished, as Spenser died in the middle of composing it.
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