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Le Morte d'Arthur: Volume 1
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Le Morte d'Arthur: Volume 1

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,414 ratings  ·  62 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
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
Louis
In my opinion, the definitive version of the Arthurian legend.I have read 6 different ones and I always come back to this one.
Marie
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 1 of 5 stars  ·  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.
John Keats
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
*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
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
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
Morganu
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.
iarXiv
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
Jesse
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
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
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
Jeshu
Jul 30, 2012 Jeshu rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Jessica
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
Scarlett
One hell of a book. And it's only the first volume.

I am not ashamed to admit that Arthurian legends are such a guilty pleasure. And though the book is not what I am usually used to, like seriously, it's one hell of a book. Literally. But the fights, all those knights, EVERYTHING. Beautiful. Amazing.
As I previously noted, I haven't read gay porn, but sometimes this feels like it. People running with their bare swords, a lot of bromances and fanservice. Guilty pleasure.
And the legends are one of
...more
Jessica
I wanted to like this because I LOVE the Mists of Avalon and this was the foundation for that book. I am just not an Arthurian girl. I thought it was ok over all but just not my thing. I really don't like the characters much. The women are hopelessly horrid and the men rather lame throughout. Merlin was really disappointing too. Just not my thing. If I were into the legends I think I would like this because it's the foundation of so many stories and retellings and does a good job of covering eve ...more
Carlos Carneiro
A Morte de Arthur é a obra definitiva sobre o Rei Arthur e os Cavaleiros da Távola Redonda. Depois de Monmouth e Troyes, Mallory compilou e reescreveu numa obra completa toda a saga arturiana. O resultado é a obra de referência sobre Arthur, de onde todo um mundo de ficção de fantasia se inspirou, desde romances a filmes ou séries. Tudo é baseado nesta obra. Dou quatro estrelas porque embora seja um clássico referencial, é uma obra extremamente repetitiva, não tendo também a qualidade narrativa ...more
Yalí
I read all about Arthur, Lancelot and Gawain, but I couldn't finish the book. I had begun it mostly because I was curious about Morgan le Fay, on whom there is very little and it is sometimes contradictory. The adventures were interesting and even entertaining, though I do question some of the rules of chivalry, like uncovering altars in churches in the woods.

However, I do recommend it, especially if you are interested in King Arthur or any of his Knights of the Round Table, Merlin or Morgan Le
...more
Anoesh
Honestly I had to struggle through it. I was reading it for an assignment, so I couldn't give up, but at times I wanted to. It's not the story so much that bothered me, although it had some annoyances as well, but more the style of writing: it had no detail whatsoever, and it fast-forwarded to everything, making it a book of only highlights. Also, in my version there was no such thing as quote/unquote, so I was left unsure when characters were done talking, which slowed down the reading process ...more
Vasha7
Though I consider myself generally open to non-modern literature, I found this awfully hard to read. The descriptions of tourneys and combats are maddeningly repetitive, and attention is paid to matters of accoutrement, wealth, and genealogy that, I think, can't possibly appeal to those outside that social milieu. Not that there isn't some interest, some developments. However, I only have the first volume, which ends just when the story of Tristam is threatening to become interesting.
Jude
When we first started reading this in class I thought it was beyond annoying, but the more i try to read between the lines I understand how it must have been so shocking, especially in the medieval days, for a person who happens to be in king Arthur's round table betray him by having an affair with his wife Guinevere.
1. I hate Guinevere.
2. I view Arthur as a cuckold.
3. I actually like Lancelot even though he betrayed his own king
Vanessa
This wasn't a bad book, and the language used was fascinating... however, I soon tired of it. It ran a little too fast (like one reviewer said, action shouldn't be described in less than 3 sentences, which happens a lot in this book), and obviously, you can only read 'Sir X smote Sir Y and rode off with Sir W' a few too many times before wanting something else to happen... You know what I mean? Unfortunately, dropped.
Suzannah
I have always been interested in the Arthurian legends, and even read the Morte as a teenager--and was surprised to dislike it. Earlier this year, I read the whole thing over again, trying to make sense of the book. And I think I succeeded.

The Morte was the subject of an 8-post series at my blog, In Which I Read Vintage Novels
Brendan
This book took me longer to read than any book I've ever finished, but I did finish it. The prose is fairly heavy and the subject matter is a bit repetitive. My favorite parts were books VI and VII about Lancelot and Gareth. I felt those read easier and didn't have the same repetitiveness of knights challenging each other as makes up much of the rest of the book. I plan on picking up Vol. 2 in a year or so.
Katy Wilmotte
A lengthy read (this is only volume one of two) but well worth it. Malory has a unique style of prose that moves you along, and is sometimes just downright funny. Even better, Malory is a gem to fiction writers,because his characters and scenes are more like outlines, rough sketches of plot without much feeling or explanation. The fiction writer can happily come along and color in the pictures.
Melissa
That was a struggle. Malory writes like a check list. I would only ever recommend this to those studying Arthurian Legend, or to people like me who are just big Arthurian buffs. I mean, how can I call myself a fan but not have read one of the original books, and telling myself that is how I slugged through. And gee only part two to go... well, at least it's finally at the crux of the story.
Katie John
I wouldn't say this is an easy read but it is incredibly rewarding and the rich imagery and beauty of the language will stay with you forever. It's incredible richness and brilliant cameo stories inspired my writing of The Forest of Adventures. It's a book to skim through in parts and then revel in at certain other points. A really important read on a reader's journey.
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  • The History of the Kings of Britain
  • The Quest of the Holy Grail
  • The Arthurian Encyclopedia
  • The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
  • Arthurian Romances
  • The Journey Through Wales & The Description of Wales
  • Tristan: With the Tristran of Thomas
  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends
  • Troilus and Criseyde
  • The Mabinogion
  • The Romance of Tristan
  • A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literatures
  • Piers Plowman
  • Parzival
  • Two Lives of Charlemagne
  • The Christmas Books, Volume 1: A Christmas Carol/The Chimes
  • Chronicles of the Crusades
  • Idylls of the King
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.
More about Thomas Malory...
Le Morte d'Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table King Arthur and His Knights: Selected Tales Le Morte d'Arthur, Vol. 2 The Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table Tales of King Arthur

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