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The Romance of Tristan

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,172 ratings  ·  39 reviews
One of the earliest extant versions of the Tristan and Yseut story, Beroul's French manuscript of The Romance of Tristan dates back to the middle of the twelfth century. It recounts the legend of Tristan, nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, and the king's Irish wife Yseut, who fall passionately in love after mistakenly drinking a potion. Their illicit romance remains secret f ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published July 27th 1978 by Penguin Classics (first published 1170)
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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo by UnknownLe Morte d'Arthur, Vol. 1 by Thomas MaloryThe History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of MonmouthLe Morte d'Arthur, Vol. 2 by Thomas MaloryArthurian Romances by Chrétien de Troyes
Medieval Arthurian romance
10th out of 139 books — 25 voters
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Once and Future King by T.H. WhiteMary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy by Mary StewartLe Morte d'Arthur by Thomas MaloryThe Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
Best Arthurian Fiction
195th out of 329 books — 1,188 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,187)
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Jason
To be honest, I didn't read this as closely or attentively as I should have, so my impressions are unfairly formed. I liked it: a love potion (meh), romance, deception, humour, a really heart-warming dog scene. Episodic. Inconsistent at times, but not so much that it's bothersome; some characters somehow are no longer dead, for example. The story goes on. I didn't hate it! I like the Wagner treatment. (I know, y'all, problematic.)
Nikki
If you've read any other Tristan text, like that of Gottfried von Strassberg, this is nothing new. The introduction suggests that this is the oldest surviving Tristan text: perhaps so, I think it may well be right.

The translation is clear and easy to read, and you get the whole gist of the story. The surviving manuscripts of Beroul's poem and The Tale of Tristan's Madness are full of gaps, so the gaps are filled in by what is known from other Tristan stories. Reasonably well done, I think.

When r
...more
Justin Evans
In my ongoing crusade to confute stories in which horrific, mind-bendingly irritating men and women are meant to be seen as heroes on the basis of the fact that

i) they're really hot
ii) they're a little bit damaged and
iii) they can't keep it in their pants,

the story of Tristan is like the Platonic form of evil, if there was such a thing (I am aware that the forms don't work like that).

Tristan, who is a bit of a scumbag, 'falls in love with' Yseut, who strongly resembles a 15 year old girl in he
...more
Andrew Darling
Beroul's poem dates from the 12th century, and is the earliest known account of the Tristan legend. It is incomplete, the surviving manuscript opening after the lovers have returned to Cornwall and the deceit of Mark has begun; but the translator provides the missing episodes - Tristan's birth, his arrival at King Mark's court, his journey to Ireland, the slaying of the dragon, the meeting with Yseut, the drinking of the love potion - from other Tristan sources, thereby telling the entire story. ...more
Karen Ceja
Muy interesante leer leyendas de la Edad Media. Uno pensaría que no tenían mucho humor, pero al menos en los escritos de Thomas y Béroul sí que lo hay. Muchos giros inesperados que ponen en la balanza valores contra emociones, confrontación de muchos miedos contra un destino dejado al azar en la mayoría de los casos. Los personajes que uno creía que no serían tan relevantes sorprenden. Me gustó :)
A Bookworm Reading
This timeless medieval love story gone awry was written by Béroul, an unknown Norman poet from the twelfth century. Discovering the exact origins of the tale become impossible as one tries to trace threads back through history, as basis can be bound in many of the legends told. The establishment of the legendary King Arthur was well under way before Béroul told his story of Queen Yseut and Tristan. Many references to King Arthur come up during this story, as time has worn on other have adopted t ...more
Mark Adderley
The Old French poem The Romance of Tristan, by Beroul, is one of the earliest extant works to narrate the story of Tristan and Yseut.

The story, briefly, concerns Tristan, a Cornish knight who is nephew to King Mark, who falls in love with Mark’s wife Yseut when they both accidentally drink a love potion. The lovers then find themselves in one scrape after another, as the evil dwarf Frocin and three evil barons who are jealous of their prowess and popularity attempt to frame them for their misbe
...more
El
Jan 20, 2009 El rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to El by: Clovis
Before Lancelot and Guinevere had massive boners for each other, there was Tristan and Yseut. Tristan is the nephew of King Mark; Mark takes Tristan in, marries Yseut, and then is completely blind to the fact that Tristan is weaseling his way into Yseut's tunic. The affair comes to the attention of a dwarf in the court who has to trick the adulterers before the good king finally agrees that something's rotten. From there comes the drama and the tragedy and al that makes this romance so popular.

T
...more
Sean
Reading this is an odd experience. The protagonist, whom we are supposed to love and admire, according to the author, is a cowardly cad and nothing good can be said for him. His lady love, whom we also should love, is a self absorbed twat. The only characters who did their jobs as they ought, who acted on their commitments, are the three evil barons whom we are intended to hate and despise, and who probably were in fact self-righteous and tedious bores. As for the author, he is either willfully ...more
Stephanie
I must say I enjoyed this story. I have always loved tragic romances and the story of Tristan has captured the minds and hearts of people for centuries. This is the earliest known written version of this particular tale, though we do not have the complete manuscript. It is important to note that it was written in old French in the 12th century, pre-literary times, and thus is a translation. My version of this book was a 1970s penguin classics edition.

I'd strongly advise those interested in read
...more
Karl Steel
Jan 13, 2008 Karl Steel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: medievalists, anyone looking for a quick tristan fix
Strangely, I'd never read it all the way through until just now. Good thing, too, since I'm teaching it in about a month.

Among other reasons, it's interesting because the 'villainous' characters are all quite reasonable in their objections to Tristan and Iseult's affair, and Tristan himself is kind of a cad. Watch for the bit where Tristan agonizes over whether or not he needs to kill his dog because of its barking.
Dominick
This early version of the Tristan and Isolde story is problematic in a couple of ways. For one thing, the manuscript is incomplete, so signifcant chunks of the story are missing and appear only in summaries based on reconstruction, inference, and narrative elements from other versions. Second, what has survived is itself incoherent in some respects--e.g. one villainous character gets killed, dismembered, and decapitated, and then turns up alive aganin afew pages later; one narrative unit about K ...more
Felix Cortes
No se que decir. Al principio me mantuvo muy interesado e incluso con tensión. Iseo esta loca y Tristan es un mama'o par de épico. Brengain es sexy (no tiene personalidad, pero me la imagine así) y Marco es un bobo que da mucha pena. Governal es el papa de los pollitos (tampoco tiene presencia, pero así lo evaluó mi cabeza) y pues... no se. Los personajes son bien cool, aunque no sepamos mucho de ellos. Y como comencé a decir pero nunca termine por el viaje que me di escribiendo sobre los person ...more
RoseAdagio
I enjoyed reading this so much! Being medieval literature, there were occasional moments where the gender dynamics bothered me, but I let it slide for the most part because of the context of the time period it was written in. I had to keep in mind how the structure of society was different back then and how differently people were expected to act. It requested suspension of disbelief on that account [gender] in order to fully enjoy the tale. Which I did! It read like a fairy tale, and I really l ...more
Tina
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M. M. Sana
Jan 03, 2008 M. M. Sana rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Epic Readers
Recommended to M. M. Sana by: Professor: Required Reading for a class.
This is a great story, but I am certain it lost a lot during the transelation. While the original writing by Beroul is supposed to be an epic poem that has a rhyme... this transelation seems like an old man is telling a story to a crowd of people. It is repeptitive, inconsistant and not at all detailed. Who ever said "SHOW, DON'T TELL" needs to say those words to this writer. He just "tells" the story as if no part of the story is of any importance. There are (maybe) three or four very short par ...more
Sarah Bilodeau
Who couldn't love this classic of all classic love stories? It begins with the nain Froncin spying on the lovers who use a coded language to hide their true romantic intentions Their love is at first a product of a love potion to save Yseult from the pain of an arranged marriage, but it later becomes clear that it is more than just a magic potion: it is real love between two equals. I say equals because Yseult is a complete woman: she is beautiful, pale and blonde (contemporry esthetic, not mine ...more
Asma Fedosia
The legend is in the time of King Arthur's middle ages. This French version of Tristan and Yseut, attributed to 'Beroul', is translated from a manuscript fragment, considered closer in time than other versions to the lost original. A love potion, a mixture of wine and herbs, is unwittingly drank by the two while sailing to England, where Yseut, daughter of the Irish King, will marry King Mark of Cornwall, Tristan's uncle. After a while of T&I's rendezvous, three villainous barons cast suspic ...more
Ishita
Fun and lighthearted, Beroul's version of the Tristan story extols his legendary love for Yseut. Questioning the very definitions of adultery, marriage, and love, Beroul's simple prose abounds in double entendres and hidden codes. A pleasure to read.
Christine
I had to read this book for my Medieval Literature class (which on a random note I saw my medieval literature professor at my church the other day- weird) . It is a love story that was very popular throughout all of Europe and had been translated into numerous languages.

I am not a fan of medieval literature, but I honestly suggest you read this.

It is hilarious.

The writing, at least in this edition, is very easy to read and follow.

It is also ridiculous. There is a magical dwarf, the king is an id
...more
Jennifer
I've been aware of the story though this is the first time I've read the source material. Not quite as romantic as I expected since Tristan and Yseut are kind of assholes. Interesting, though.
Marilena
This book is famous and it will always stay famous.
I read it, I saw films and films about it and I would still reread it.
Quite a moving love story...
I adored especially the symbolism at the end.
That rose is famous in French literature. I don't think someone will ever come up with a symbol better than the rose that comes out from Tristan's tomb and thrusts roots in Iseut's tomb. Therefore lovers are connected even in death. Even if people try to cut it, the next day the rose is even more beautifu
...more
Shadazz
I was very curious about Tristan and Iseut the whole semester, since most of the readings were medieval. But there was no time for it until after the finals.

The tale of Tristan & Iseut is very attractive. Perhaps it is the adultery, perhaps it is my penchant for tortured ill starred love. Denis de Rougemont makes a better explanation about the qualities of this "Myth" as he calls it. The one from one all our preconceptions about love might stem from. ALso the place which originated many com
...more
Steven Kirk
This was a pretty good book! This version by Beroul is supposed to be one of the better versions/translations from what I was told. I actually thought this book would be boring but it actually was an enjoyable read and I am glad I came across it.

SMK
Natalie Gibbs
I read this book for a French literature college class, but I took the class so I could read this book! *laugh*

As a huge fan of the modern film "Tristan + Isolde", I was dying to see how Beroul wrote his version of the ill-fated couple. While the ending and the reason for the couples' love wasn't as "inspiring" as in the film, I greatly enjoyed the other aspects of the book which went into much more detail of the past, present, and future of the couple than a film ever could.

All in all, whethe
...more
Éclat-de-lumière
La concordance des temps, ça n'existait pas au Moyen-Âge? «Il chante des lais d'amour et a dit à la dame qu'il revint de la cour du roi» ?? Aussi, dans le roman de Thomas, ce dernier répète au moins 4 fois la même idée avec des phrases différentes. Ah la la... les livres du Moyen-Âge...;)
Lisa Epstein
I had to read this for class, but I actually really enjoyed it. It was a quick read and didn't really require me to do too much thinking. The only word I can think of for it is pleasant.
Ladygwen
This was a fascinating satire of the famous doomed romance. It had an interesting perspective and of course the plot which I wished was expanded detail wise.
Marcela
I enjoyed this book! The love between Tristan and Yseut is so passionate and cute at the same time. And she is a master of lying let's be honest.
Shawn
Quite a bit different than the James Franco movie from a few years ago that is based on this character. But a very enjoyable read.
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Béroul was a Norman poet of the twelfth century. Béroul is, by agreement, the name given to the author of a version of the legend of Tristan and Isolde, written in a Norman dialect.

Béroul était un poète normand du xiie siècle. C'est le nom que l'on donne par convention à l'auteur d'une version en vers de la légende de Tristan et Iseut, écrite dans un dialecte normand.
More about Béroul...
The Romance of Tristan and Iseult Tristán e Iseo Tristán e Isolda Berouls Romance Tristan Vol I Tristano e Isotta

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