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Le Morte d'Arthur (Norton Critical Editions) Paperback – 28 Nov 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; New Ed edition (28 Nov. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393974642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393974645
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The greatest English version of the stories of King Arthur, the Morte Darthur was completed in 1469-70 by Sir Thomas Malory, 'knight prisoner'. His identity is uncertain, but he is likely to have been the lord of the manor of Newbold Revel, in Warwickshire. Malory's text collects, combines, and abbreviates the key French thirteenth-century prose romances of Arthur, many of which were themselves based on earlier verse originals, and supplements them with English Arthurian material. The Morte channels all the important Arthurian legends into a single source that itself stands at the head of the whole later Arthurian tradition in English. After initially leading the life of a responsible member of the gentry, this Sir Thomas Malory turned to a career of spectacular lawlessness; he spent a number of years in prison, was excluded from two general pardons and died in 1471.

Product Description

About the Author

Stephen H. A. Shepherd is Associate Professor of English at Loyola Marymount University. His honors include fellowships to the Huntington Library and the Bibliographical Society of America. He is the editor of the Middle-English Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle and of the Norton Critical Edition of Middle English Romances and coeditor of the Norton Critical Edition of Piers Plowman.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 8 July 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The earlier rendition by Keith Baines of Mallory's classic work, 'Le Morte d'Arthur', went out of print, but the demand was such that there was bound to be a press that would pick it up. All hail to Signet for doing so here! They have taken the old text and reprinted it, practically as a photo-stat. Even the pagination has remained the same, but the print face is a bit cleaner than the older copy in a side-by-side comparison (I purchased the Signet edition, thinking it was a revision, when I already had the older Baines edition -- they are the same).
Sir Thomas Mallory was a great one to write the adventures of King Arthur and his knights - a knight himself, he led a life of intrigue and adventure, albeit not one that always lived up to the ideas of chivalry he penned at the heart of the Arthurian legends. Mallory did not invent Arthur; he is one of the principle medieval chroniclers, having time (he was in prison with nothing else to do, after all) to set down in prose stories he'd heard throughout his life. These were popular tales, not always told in the same way with the same details, as is true of most oral legends and transmitted stories, much to the later frustration of scholars and readers. The earliest printing of Mallory's stories had his authorship suppressed by Caxton, one of the better-known publishers of the time.
The earliest Arthurian legends date back as far as the late Roman times in Britain. Controversies abound, but many have settled on a late Roman or Romano-British general named Arturius - however, given the linguistic nature of the name (it is derivative of ruler or leader), it is impossible to know if this was in fact a name or a title, and the legends may be compilations of the acts of many leaders bearing the name.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Mar. 1999
Format: Paperback
When I began to create the curriculum for a British Literature course at the boarding school I work at, I realized the resources I was given to use only briefly mentioned the adventures of King Arthur and his knights. Medieval literature is one of my favorite subjects, and I didn't feel it was right for students to be robbed of the experience of reading this classic work. Malory wrote this classic work during the War of the Roses, a civil war that tore England apart. Through his prose, Malory hoped to resurrect the vision of a perfect medieval world. Keep this in mind when you read this book, and try to place yourself in the medieval era. You won't be dissappointed!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Boriss Lariushin on 14 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Absolutely greatest and most detailed work about King Artur and his Knights and Merlion! Sir Thomas Malory is the best author ever written on the subject! One warning all book is written in Late Middle English so a deep language knowledge is appreciated for good reading!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Foster on 1 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
amazing book, various short stories of the legendary king arthur. I very much enjoyed this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Philippa Ritchie on 4 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a decent copy with reasonable size print. The paper is not very good quality but it's good to have the entire thing in one volume and the font is a decent size and easy to read.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By J C E Hitchcock on 25 May 2010
Format: Paperback
Malory's "Le Morte d'Arthur " is perhaps the best-known version of the Arthurian legends in English. Despite the title, "the death of Arthur", the work does not deal solely with King Arthur's death but rather with the whole of his life and reign. The error appears to have originated with Malory's first publisher William Caxton who applied the title of Malory's final section to the entire work. The book retells some well-known stories from French and English sources, such as the Sword in the Stone, the Quest for the Holy Grail, the romance of Tristan and Isolde, the adulterous love between Lancelot and Guinevere and the death of King Arthur at the hands of the traitor Mordred. One of the book's eight sections, the Tale of Sir Gareth, appears to be Malory's own invention.

The identity of the author is not precisely known. During the time it was being written, during the 1450s and 1460s, there were at least six men named Thomas Malory living in England, but most (although not all) modern scholars attribute the work to Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel in Warwickshire. This individual lived from around 1413 to 1470, so would have lived through the latter part of the Hundred Years War as well as the Wars of the Roses. He appears to have been a colourful character who served as an MP for Warwickshire but also served time in prison for various offences including rape and robbery. There is an irony if such a man was indeed the author of Le Morte D'Arthur, as one of the work's major themes is how one might reconcile two of the great preoccupations of the Middle Ages, love of God and love of violence.

There is some doubt as to whether King Arthur ever existed, and to judge from Caxton's preface there were some people who had doubts about his existence even in the 1400s.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Remembered it from school and decided to try it. Took a while to get into as it's written in archaic English but once on the roll it's difficult to discard. Don't expect fireworks but there's plenty of jousting, etc, which may seem repetitive; but there's plenty of intrigue to go with it. Super for those who like tales of knights in shining armour rescuing maidens locked away in castle towers, for this must be the 'Daddy of them all'. For perhaps the first printed work ever published in the English language it's well worth the 75p layout.
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