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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great edition of a seminal work of literature, 11 Nov 2006
By 
Peter Reeve (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tristan (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Around the middle of the 12th century, an author we know only as Thomas wrote a French version of the popular legend of the star-crossed lovers Tristan and Ysolt (usually known in English as Tristram and Yseult). Thomas may have been French or English. Most of his poem has been lost. A generation or two later (the dates for both authors are uncertain) a Strassburger named Gottfried wrote a German version of the story, using Thomas as his source. Gottfried died before completing the work. By extraordinary coincidence, the bulk of what remains of Thomas's work is the very part that Gottfried did not live to write. Thomas carries on exactly where Gottfried leaves off. The obvious thing therefore, is to translate Gottfried and Thomas in one volume, to give a complete narrative. That's what Hatto does, in his usual accurate, precise and elegant English, in this excellent Penguin Classics edition.

Hatto's editorial contributions, consisting of an Introduction and 7 Appendices, give as much information as most readers will require. One can sense the effort of will Hatto needed, to stop himself writing volumes more.

So how good a story is it? Well, it's a classic romance, from a time when sexual relations were being redefined, and which has provided inspiration for countless other romances since, most notably Romeo and Juliet. It does not read like a modern novel, for the very good reason that it isn't one. It is a medieval German poem translated into modern English prose, so much of the underlying social logic, and many of the aesthetics, will inevitably be lost to us. But it does contain some very memorable moments and it stands as an important milestone on the progress of western literature, and as an invaluable insight into European medieval culture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent inroduction to the genre, 10 Jan 2010
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This review is from: Tristan (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
As a reader new to Medieval Literature I can definately vouch for it being an excellent introduction to the genre. The story is a classic and it is definately worth reading this translation of the achetypal version, written in the 13th century. Although the beauty of the original poem cannot be captured in a prose translation, Hatto makes a very good attempt at it and the result is a pleasure to read. I fully recomend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great, 6 Oct 2010
This review is from: Tristan (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
who said twelth century french literature was boring. obviously a tried and tested tale, told in an informal style (sometimes a little too informal; strassburg's constant demural that he isn't a great enough poet to describe things begins to ring too true too often, underlining, rather than glossing over unecessary details, his inadequacies.) the author is interested in the whole courtly set up and Tristan's mastery of these now sometimes arcane fripperies to seemingly underline his dilemmas with iseult, the romantic (in the modern sense of the word) end of the tale coming somewhat later in the tale. i am a little unsure of whether it's my modern interpritation of Tristan and his medieval manners, but he does come across as rather self-absorbed and lacking in true modesty, his manners towards people being impeccable, but his treatment very dismissive (rather charitably one could suggest strassburg intended this, asmuch as the strong homeo-erotic element suggesting that King Mark is smitten with his ward, but i tghink that 'charitable' would be the word). But the tale does involve and strassburg is good at actusal scenes and the construction of the whole. rather a good read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anniversary Gift, 15 Feb 2013
By 
Mrs. P. M. Simmons "booknan" (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tristan (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
this was ordered for my daughter it is just what she wanted as it was a gift for her husbandand is thename of their son.
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Tristan (Penguin Classics)
Tristan (Penguin Classics) by Gottfried von Strassburg (Paperback - 29 Aug 1974)
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