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Le Morte d'Arthur: Volume 1

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3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,023 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
Sir Thomas Malory, fl. 1470. Very little is known of him. Some identify him with a Sir Thomas Malory of Warwickshire who fought successively on both sides in the War of the Roses, sat in Parliament, 1444-5, and died in 1471.
Hardcover, 401 pages
Published 1941 by J.M. Dent & Sons Limited (first published 1485)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Phillip.c.lacey
Jan 10, 2008 Phillip.c.lacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable read, if you like knights and stuff. The story is a metaphor for the shift in beliefs of many gods to the belief in the Christian god.

I learned that knights pretty much spend their time on quests and challenging each other at the drop of a hat. A typical example would be a conversation like this.

"I say, Sir Gallahad, the color red is above all the best color."

"I disagree, Sir Palomides, for I hold the color green to be the best."

"I challenge you then, let us joust to see o
...more
Alexis Hall
Okay, the Morte d'Arthur is ... weird as hell but I love it because it saved my life.

Well maybe not my life.

But some part of my life.

Basically at university there was this exam where you had to analyse a bit of Medieval poetry given to you from a set selection of texts. Everyone did Pearl because it was short and the other option were insane (one of them being THE ENTIRETY of the fucking Morte).

Anyway, I hate Pearl.

It all looks the same.

And that guy has some creepy ideas about his daughter, just
...more
Marie
Sep 21, 2009 Marie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Have I read enough medieval romance to be able to judge this work with its contemporaries? I'm gonna go on a limb and say "Sorta."

There were a few frustrations with this work. First that the preface said that there is an earlier manuscript of it that they didn't use, so I'm all "Wait, why give us the later if there's an earlier? Why tell us about it just to tease us?" The translator's notes tended to be next to useless, leaving confusing words undefined and telling me for the fifth time that gul
...more
Joanna
Aug 27, 2008 Joanna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: absolutely NOBODY. Take if off the damn English reading lists!!
Recommended to Joanna by: Princeton Review
SO INSANELY DULL and repetitive that it's curing my chronic insomnia. I'm not sure I can get through it, it's just making me so angry...as a genuine fan of King Arthur and his knights and adventures, I'm sorely disappointed in Malory. The earliest Arthurian literature is a thousand times more imaginative than this. I don't think I'll ever understand why it became an instant classic.

BLECH.
Louis
Nov 19, 2014 Louis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
In my opinion, the definitive version of the Arthurian legend.I have read 6 different ones and I always come back to this one.
Morganu
Jun 11, 2012 Morganu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books on Arthurian literature, Thomas Malory gives us the sad ending, and by the other side the possible return of The once and the future King.
Jen B
I didn't finish. Perhaps some other time, but I found it extremely repetitive.
Agnieszka
Jul 03, 2015 Agnieszka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Although these stories are collected into a book, this is not a novel, and it's just Part 1. On the other hand the stories are stand alone, so I think I can review it a bit.

The first part is all about King Arthur's lineage and them him consolidating his kingdom. It's not that exciting because Merlin just tells King Arthur what to do and he does it and everything goes well. Everyone does "marvelous deeds of arms" and is a "passing good knight". I don't suggest skipping it because it gets you used
...more
John Keats
Jan 22, 2014 John Keats rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bad to start off with a lie regarding a book about honor and chivalry? I'd read this before. But it's a book that keeps on giving, in part because of the style, the broad strokes of character and story that carve out essences or habits but leave you a lot of space to muse on what people are about. Is Gawain a lout? I say yes, mostly, because when he's rushed, or confused, or outnumbered, he usually chooses the selfish or easy way out. In contrast, Launcelot never does. At this point, in Volume 1 ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 23, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Good Reading: 100 Signficiant Books
This is the first volume of Le Morte d'Arthur and shouldn't be seen as the first book of a trilogy, just the first half, and not meant to be read alone. 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 ...more
Marisa Mills
Sep 27, 2011 Marisa Mills rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*First, let me note that I am reviewing it as a whole. I checked out the two volumes from the library and returned them, so sadly, I don't know where one stopped and the other began. Sorry! Also, some spoilers, but anyone familiar with the legend shouldn't be surprised.

Ah, King Arthur and his Knights! It brings back memories of a fourth grade me listening to my librarian spin great and chivalrous tales! I remember distinctly, her describing Morgan Le Fay taking the magical sheath to Exaclibur fr
...more
Shannon
Dec 04, 2011 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm currently going through an obsessive Arthurian phase and what better to feed my passion than the first English print of the legend. Now, yes, this does mean it happens to be written in a modernised version of Old English (and yes I was a bit irritated when I found Peter Ackroyd's Modern English version the day before I finished) but I think this adds a certain charm to the tale. I certainly discovered that I regret the loss of some words and phrases from the English language (eg, anon, wonde ...more
Scott
Jul 11, 2014 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: myth-legend
I'm glad Penguin* published this book in two volumes, so that I can give four stars to the first half (which is a little generous, if anything), and five to volume two. Taken as a whole, an amazing piece of literature, and perhaps the definitive version of the Arthurian story. While there is a continuous plot to the entire saga (although not always in chronological order), it's broken up into various nearly stand-alone sections, each with its own heroes and storylines. I found that most of the w ...more
Nuska
Jul 16, 2016 Nuska rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Tradicional y clásica novela de caballerías, llena de aventuras, amor y honor. Pese a ser un género denostado en uno de mis libros favoritos (Don Quijote de la Mancha II), siempre me ha gustado cómo enlaza una aventura con otra por el mero hecho de vivir aventuras. El rey Arturo y sus caballeros de la tabla redonda (especialmente el gran Lanzarote del Lago) están entre mis personajes literarios preferidos de todos los tiempos. Por otro lado, siempre me ha causado curiosidad que el rey Arturo pue ...more
MJ
Nov 22, 2015 MJ marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
(from Wikipedia) There are multiple candidates for first novel in English partly because of ignorance of earlier works, but largely because the term novel can be defined so as to exclude earlier candidates:

Some critics require a novel to be wholly original and so exclude retellings like Le Morte d'Arthur.
Most critics distinguish between an anthology of stories with different protagonists, even if joined by common themes and milieus, and the novel (which forms a connected narrative), and so als
...more
Chad Warner
Nov 21, 2015 Chad Warner rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
There are a few interesting scenes, but I was mentally disengaged for the majority of it. I stopped at Book V: “The First and the Second Book of Sir Tristrams de Lione.”

As expected, there's a lot of chivalry, heroism, and fighting (especially duals). I was somewhat surprised to find that Christianity plays more of a political or cultural role than a moral one; several knights show no qualms about adultery, as one example.

I started reading this because Arthurian legend has greatly influenced West
...more
Suhail
Jul 05, 2016 Suhail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
An interesting read. It's kind of strange that the book is named after king Arthur when lots of the chapters are about his knights with only a passing mention of the legendary king.

Of course the women get a raw deal. Still it's a bit unsettling to see how little they got to decide for themselves.

Another thing is, this is a 15th century retelling of events from the 6th century. It's hard to see what belonged to the early middle ages and what was influenced by the centuries in between.

The introd
...more
Mary Ann
May 04, 2015 Mary Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this in high school and again in college; I liked it very much then, not so much now. It is an important work in English literature for its 15th century interpretation of a 5th century figure. With its depiction of the chivalric code and courtly love, it has had a deep influence on so much of the prose and poetry that followed. I credit it, along with The Once and Future King, for the beginning of my life-long interest in all things Arthurian, but I have more affinity for those whic ...more
Fluvia
Puntuación: 2'5/5

(Leído solo el volumen 1, hasta el final del primer libro de Tristán).

Bueno... No puedo decir que no me ha gustado porque sería una mentira, pero tampoco ha sido lo que me esperaba. Sí, ya sé lo que estaréis pensando: "¡Es un libro medieval!" Y es cierto, es un libro de finales de la Edad Media, sobre caballeros andantes, y no ha sido ninguna sorpresa que el estilo fuera repetitivo y que lo único que hicieran los personajes fuera luchar y luchar. Creo que lo que más me ha decepc
...more
Jesse
Jan 29, 2011 Jesse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This was a difficult read for me, but I enjoyed it.

The style of writing is consistant with other liturature of this time period, and that was where I struggled. The stories, themselves, were entertaining.

A lot of "so-and-so begot so-and-so" and almost continual fighting between knights. This also became tedious. In many ways, the reader is not really told who we should be supporting and who is the evil character. As the books and chapters change to focus on new knights, they often fight kinghts
...more
Donnagarnet
Aug 31, 2015 Donnagarnet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to find this in the original 15th century English. While the language does add to the sparkle of the story, it is a bit of a pain to have to pause to look up an obscure term (hence, four rather than five stars). This is the version of the King Arthur legends that made me go to see the grave of Arthur & Guinevere at Glastonbury Abbey (Yeah, I know they were faked, but I love the Arthurian legends & Glastonbury was worth the bus ride from Bristol for other reasons as wel ...more
Gijs Grob
Omvangrijke en praktisch complete vertelling over King Arthur, Merlijn en zijn ridders. Vooral de laatsten beleven allerhande nauwelijks gerelateerde avonturen, die ze vaak zelfs expres opzoeken. In vrijwel al deze avonturen zijn duels met andere nobele ridders en schone jonkvrouwen betrokken.

Met historische waarheden heeft het allemaal niets van doen en je kan er ook niets anders dan 14e eeuwse taferelen in zien. In de eerdere passages domineert de toekomstvoorspellende alweter Merlijn nogal, d
...more
Brian
Jan 05, 2011 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
9/14/09 - 5/10
After reading some about King Arthur in the Fionavar Tapestry series, I decided to explore more. Malory's version of the Arthurian legends and the matter of Britain are one of the earliest English compilations. The books are interesting as history of the Arthurian legends, but the languange is rather stilted and the story is a bit repetitive and not too interesting. It's not a tough read, but becomes a bit boring as it devolves into a knight did this and then smote this and then di
...more
Marie
Feb 24, 2015 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book, it has a certain charm to it that you don't find anymore. Lots of jousting, knight challenges, dragon fighting, damsels in distress, magical warfare, etc. The medieval stories have a veil of the many mysteries of the world in those dark but simpler times filled with romance and adventure of the unknown.
Scott Williams
I read this previously (about ten years ago) and remember enjoying it a lot, however, this time it seemed like kind of a slog to get through. Maybe my head wasn't in the right place for it. I felt the titular hero was largely absent after the first 50 or so pages. Most of the book deals with the misadventures of the knights of the Round Table who seem hellbent on battling one another for a series of fairly ridiculous reasons.

I had planned to go directly into Volume Two but I think now that I mi
...more
Jeshu
Jul 30, 2012 Jeshu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: arthurian legends fans
Recommended to Jeshu by: my brit lit teacher on 2010
Shelves: arthurian
Yes. I know. I ranted a lot about this book and now I rate it 4 star. Funny, huh?

Despite the initial conflicts I had with Malory, after the first six book I started to enjoy it! Now that I finished, I can say honestly that I really liked it. It is my first not-modern Arthurian Legend and I am not disappointed! Huzzah!

One thing to warn you: Malory's writing skills tend to be a little bit tedious if you are not used to the medieval style. For further reference, check the chapters regarding the bat
...more
Adam Yeaton
Jul 17, 2016 Adam Yeaton rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reading
Approximately three-quarters of this book is knights getting knocked off of horses, getting really mad that they've been knocked off of horses, then knocking other knights off of their horses and taking the horses as revenge.
Jessica
Mar 27, 2014 Jessica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While I love the Arthurian saga and have read different versions, I just could not get through the extremely dry olde English translation. If it was written in a much easier to read translation, I would have of course loved it.
Stephen
The companion text of the best class I have ever taken. Because this class was so defining in my life, this book will live in me forever and mor ethan likely be read often. Unfortunately my profesor died right after the class ended, and I am left with this text, to gain any more wisdom from the man. Truth is this book can be applied to all aspects of life and the human condition. I believe it portrays human nature even better than most say Shakespeare does. Once one gets past the old English, it ...more
iarXiv
Dec 31, 2015 iarXiv rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
Having never read novels about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, I had high expectations. I was sorely disappointed because instead of a readable novel, I found an old-fashioned translation from French sources. Apart from archaic English, the book spoils all anticipation by using as the title of each page-long Chapter a summary of what is about to happen. The book may be a good source for literary research, or a good window into the past, but it is not a novel to be read for pleasu ...more
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Sir Thomas Malory was a knight in the fifteenth century, who, while imprisoned, compiled the collection of tales we know as Le Morte D'Arthur, translating the legend of King Arthur from original French tales such as the Vulgate Cycle.
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“for it is better that we slay a coward, than through a coward all we to be slain.” 3 likes
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