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The Romance of Tristan and Iseult

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  8,058 Ratings  ·  352 Reviews
This immortal tale concerns the doomed love between a knight and a princess — one of the great romances of medieval literature, along with that of Lancelot and Guinevere. The heroic Tristan, nephew and champion of King Mark of Cornwall, journeys to Ireland to bring home his uncle's betrothed, the fair Iseult. Their shipboard voyage takes a tumultuous turn with a misunderst ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published February 18th 2005 by Dover Publications (first published 1170)
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Dec 09, 2014 Afshar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Book of Books, the very oddest
Here - the Book of Love.
Alertly have I read it:
Of joy a few brief pages,
Volumes filled with sorrow;
And then a part that deals with parting.
Rendezvous - a little chapter,
Fragmentary. - Tomes on worry
Lengthened by the clarifers,
Measureless, no end.
O Nizami! - in the long run,
Though, you found the right direction.
Unresolvable - who solves it?
Lovers being reunited.

Yes, it was the glancing eye
And the mouth, the kissing lips,
Rounded body, slender hips,
As on green of Eden
Karly *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

Okay, so I did NOT love it... but it was good :)

I LOVE the 2006 film Tristan & Isolde for reasons.... mostly this:

and this:

but also because it has one of the most poignantly beautiful forgiveness scenes I have ever seen. Rufus Sewell (as King Mark) delivers an unforgettable performance. Which is saying something because I am a HUGE James Franco fan (he is the reason I watched the movie) and Rufus Sewell stole that movie from him, hands *snicker* down!!

However, this translation/compilation
Megan Anderson
A classic myth, but maybe not the best version.

Tristan and Iseult is a big deal: it’s said to be a major influence for the romance between Lancelot and Guinevere, Romeo and Juliet, and pretty much the majority romantic love stories after the 12th century. This myth was passed down verbally and has been committed to text by several different authors. Bédier argues that his version is adapted from the original poem, which may or may not be historically accurate. The style is conversational as if a
Janez Hočevar
Une passion folle ou une folie passionnee, ce roman, bien qu'idealise par le medieviste Joseph Bedier, nous donne une histoire d'amour, qui ne peut pas etre vecue. S'y melent les divers elements des romans chevaleresques, comme fin amor, le feodalisme et tout ce qui le represente....Ce qui m'a plu le mieux, c'etait la force de la passion, le renoncement a cette meme passion qui ne peut finir que par la mort des deux amants. Point de happy end!!
Nov 10, 2012 Yani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval, universidad
Relectura septiembre 2016

Es otra versión de la historia de amor prohibida (suena bien...) entre el sobrino de un rey y la esposa de este. Llegado a un punto Marc, el rey, me dio un poco de pena porque vive envuelto en los chismes y las mentiras de toda la gente que lo rodea y se deja influir. Por alguna extraña razón, me gustó más que la versión de Gottfried. Tal vez haya sido porque el verso es más amable que la prosa cuando una no está muy en sintonía con la historia (a pesar de que a mí me
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
His parents were wed in a castle standing above the sea called Tintagel "well fenced against all assault or engines of war, (with) its keep, which the giants had built long ago, (a) compact of great stones, like a chess board of vert and azure." He was lost for a long time, his royal origin hidden and unknown, but fate was kind and he was brought back to King Mark, ruler of Cornwall, brother of his deceased mother Blanchefleur (the husband of his late father, Rivalen King of Lyonesse). He served ...more
Feb 06, 2015 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-translation
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.)
May 13, 2012 Molly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 5-stars
Há muito que procurava ler esta obra. Vi o filme e conhecia o romance de ambos, mas queria muito ler a história, uma vez que faz parte das lendas arturianas e tem aquela magia que tanto me agrada. Foi agora que apareceu a oportunidade e só posso dizer que estou muito feliz.

Este livro conta a história de amor de Tristão e Isolda, amor esse predestinado a consumir os seus amantes de modo a que a sua história fosse bela e trágica. Perseguidos pelos seus, Tristão e Isolda lutam contra tudo e contra
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
Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)
"King Mark made peace with Tristan. Tristan returned to the castle as of old. Tristan slept in the King's chamber with his peers. He could come or go, the King thought no more of it. But who can long keep his love a secret? Love alas cannot be hid."

Ah love. It has a mind of its own. This was so tragic and bittersweet. I saw the movie with James Franco back in the day, and now I feel cheated because this story is so much more. The story of two lovers at the mercy of fate and the gods that contro
Mohammad Ali
در این کتاب بدیه روایت های مختلف تریستان و ایزوت را جمع کرده و به صورت یک روایت در آورده است.

آنچه که بیش از همه چیز در این داستان می پسندم اصل ایده است: اینکه تریستان و ایزوت به اجبار به سوی مرگ رانده می شوند و از این روی بی گناهند - همه بنده ی نیرویی اند خارج از اختیارشان.

در موارد کمی ترجمه مشوش است اما عموما ترجمه ی خوبی است ( البته صرفا از روی جمله بندی فارسی و نه تطبیق با متن اصلی ).
Marko Vasić
Jedna od najkoherentnijih verzija. Fenomenalno.
Deborah Stack
Dec 14, 2011 Deborah Stack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: favorites
I adore this story, and I know that the beautiful writing of Joseph Bedier is largely to thank- but I must give credit to the specific reader at librivox who helped me to fall in love with the tale.

I listened to Tristan and Iseult as an audiobook, acquired through Librivox and read by Joy Chan. (Available here:

Joy Chan's soothing voice drew me entirely into the ancient story, and as she adopted a slight affect for each character, rendering each distinct,
Rima Rashid
Aug 05, 2015 Rima Rashid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'The story is told of two trees that grew miraculously, one from Tristan's tomb and one from Yseut's; their branches intertwined over the apse. Three times King Mark had the trees cut down, and three times they grew again.'

Oh I am done for!

My mum kindly let me stay in bed today and I finished 'The Romance of Tristan' in a matter of hours. It's such a sweet story of love, loss, loyalty, bravery. It was like Marian and Robin, Romeo and Juliet.

Excuse me. My heart hurts.
dead letter office
Mar 27, 2008 dead letter office rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
a despicable soothsaying dwarf!

passion and joy most sharp, and anguish without end, and death!

evil giants!

a magic, multicolored dog with a little fairy bell!

why anyone writes books without these things is a mystery to me. plus it's all true.
Jun 24, 2009 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this on Librivox and it was beautifully narrated but very confusing because there were so many characters. This is one action packed story. It's supposed to be this great romance but Tristan and Iseult didn't fall in love, they had a spell cast on them so is that a romance?
Alex Swift
Jan 29, 2017 Alex Swift rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
A Bookworm Reading (Plethora)
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
Jun 14, 2016 Vaishali rated it really liked it
Shelves: european-fiction
Five stars if not for abrupt character reactions. Still, one of the best legends ever. Historically, the romance predates Arthur/Guenevere/Lancelot, but its enduring popularity caused a morphing of Tristan into a Round Table Knight.

We have it all here : fresh verdant woodlands ... mighty castles with taller steeples ... dainty maids courted by the finest men... plus dragons, pirates, and lepers. In short, a world as innocent as it was brutal, now lost to us forever. A dreamland worthy of revisit
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
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
Andrew Darling
Oct 27, 2012 Andrew Darling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cornwall, poets
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
Searched and read the e-book. Why? Tristan and Isolde was one of the most influential romances in the medieval period. Although this story line has been used endlessly later, in many classic romance stories like the Arthurian romance of Lancelot and Guinevere, this is a very good read and the original.

This one, Bedier's translation which was then translated by Hilaire Belloc) is the living piece of mythology. He tells Tristan and Isolde the same way you've probably heard it a thousand times. I b
Britni Schoolcraft
I did not expect to give this book five stars; however, Bedier and Belloc blew away all my preconceived notions about the romance. This book is simultaneously one of the most beautiful and sorrowful books I've ever read, and I loved it.

The translation is so moving and beautiful that I found myself appreciating the text to the point of craving more despite how very sad the story is. I haven't experienced a medieval text that stirred in me such strong emotional attachments to the characters. Usua
Sep 09, 2009 Jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paloma Meir
Jan 24, 2016 Paloma Meir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most of my reading life has been spent searching for a story that will make me feel as I felt when first reading Wuthering Heights. The Romance of Tristan and Iseult didn't succeed (and nothing else has either), but I loved it anyway.

"Apart the lovers could neither live nor die, for it was life and death together..." I feel your pain, Tristan and Iseult. I've read so many retellings of this story, but never the source. Happy to have finally read it.

*** John Updike's Brazil is my favorite reimag
Karen Ceja
Jan 03, 2014 Karen Ceja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 :)
Sep 02, 2015 Sibilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ak, nekad, nekad nelietojiet apšaubāmas izcelsmes alkoholiskos dzērienus! Var sanākt pamatīgas un vēl ilgi leģendās apdziedātas ziepes, mirt vesels lērums pie tā nevainīgu ļaužu un tiek nogalināts pat viens mazs, mīlīgs kucēns (lai tam izgrieztu mēli).

Bet, neskatoties uz idiotisko saturu, stāsts apbur ar savu senatnīgumu un pierāda, ka populārā literatūra pēdējā gadu tūkstošu laikā nav īpaši manījusies.
Sep 29, 2009 Kelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was only very mildly interested in this book throughout. It is written and translated from such old language and verbage that makes it uncomfortable to read and to connect with. It also cannot make up its mind if it is a romance or a tragedy - the correct formula for a tragic romance is lost within the first couple of chapters. It is also, at best, very, very fanciful and highly unbelievable. It may be a better read to a younger and/or a more naive person.
Jul 15, 2015 Mari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comovente desde as primeiras linhas, é um livro que faz jus a todas as tragédias gregas. Muito amor, muito romance e muito drama, em uma batalha épica pela verdadeira felicidade e pela união de um casal que nem a morte pode separar! Leitura deliciosamente fluida que, como sempre, encerra o enredo tocando o coração dos leitores. Mais do que recomendado: indicado com honras!
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انتشار 1 9 Nov 28, 2007 11:54PM  
  • Tristan: With the Tristran of Thomas
  • Lancelot: The Knight of the Cart
  • The Quest of the Holy Grail
  • The Romance of the Rose
  • Parzival
  • The Lais of Marie de France
  • The Arthurian Encyclopedia
  • Carmen and Other Stories
  • Myth Ritual and Religion Volume 1
  • Roman de Brut
  • The History of the Kings of Britain
  • The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse
  • The Lady of the Lake
  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends
  • Prince of Dreams: A Tale of Tristan and Esyllte
  • Le Morte d'Arthur, Vol. 2
  • The Death of King Arthur
Bédier was born in Paris, France to Adolphe Bédier, a lawyer of Breton origin, and spent his childhood in Réunion. He was a professor of medieval French literature at the Université de Fribourg, Switzerland (1889–1891) and the Collège de France, Paris (c. 1893).

Modern theories of the fabliaux and the chansons de geste are based on two of Bédier's studies.

Bédier revived interest in several importan
More about Joseph Bédier...

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“Fold your arms round me close and strain me so that our hearts may break and our souls go free at last. Take me to that happy place of which you told me long ago. The fields whence none return, but where great singers sing their songs forever.” 33 likes
“...for most men are unaware that what is in the power of magicians to accomplish, that the heart can also accomplish by dint of love and bravery.” 11 likes
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