on 30 April 2007
'In this selection of tales by the master folklorist, Andrew Lang, the reader is taken into the romantic world of the gallant 'Knights of the Round Table' and their courageous and chivalrous deeds, fair maidens, castles steeped in history, the quest for the Holy Grail, and the tragic love of King Arthur and Sir Lancelot for Guenevere, and Tristan for Iseult.
The Arthurian legends are the most potent of the thrilling and mist-enshrouded tales of adventure to be passed down from pre-recorded history, and they have as much appeal today as they did in the age of the troubadours.'
141 pages, written in a fairly small text, split into main chapters:
1. The Drawing of the Sword
2. The Questing Beast
3. The Sword Excalibur
4. The Story of Sir Balin
5. How the Round Table Began
6. The Passing of Merlin
7. How Morgan le Fay Tried to kill King Arthur
8. What Beaumains asked of the King
9. The Quest of the Holy Grail
10. The Fight for the Queen
11. The Fair Maind of Astolat
12. Lancelot and Guenevere
13. The End of it All
Interspersed with 22 charming black and white full page illustrations.
on 17 August 2012
A REVIEW OF `TALES FROM KING ARTHUR' by ANDREW LANG
`Tales From King Arthur' is a mixed bag of Arthurian legends, which tells the story of the mysterious monarch from beginning to end. As such (and by virtue of its relatively short length), it is a good starting point for those wishing to get to know these classic yarns of sword and sorcery.
However, be warned, although published as part of Wordworth's children's classics collection, this will prove to be a very inaccessible book for younger readers and sits rather awkwardly alongside such bedtime-friendly novels as `Wind in The willows' or ` The Railway Children'. Much of this is due to its reliable telling of the original stories which reveal erratic pacing and often lurch from one event to another. The most glaring example of this is the section devoted to `The Quest of The Holy Grail' which lays aside the vestiges of credibility found in the earlier and later stories and offers a chaotic, mind-bending jamboree of mini adventures.
On a personal note, I deliberately timed my reading of `Tales From King Arthur' to coincide with a visit to Tintagel in north Cornwall. That Arthurian-soaked town's dramatic landscape provides a wonderfully visual setting in which to place the events that are described. The biggest tourist attraction in Tintagel is surely the castle. However, if the discerning reader wants to really gain a flavour of the majesty of Camelot, then a visit to the truly extraordinary `King Arthur's Halls' (complete with its Round Table, granite throne and stained-glass windows) is a must.
To conclude, `Tales From King Arthur' is a generally engaging introduction to the Arthurian legends that doesn't overstay its welcome and offers a strong overview of the original stories. Whilst not in the same league as `Robin Hood' (published in the same series), as a slice of chivalrous escapism, it still provides (Lance)a lot of entertainment.
Barty's Score: 7 /10