Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Le Morte d'Arthur ” as Want to Read:
Le Morte d'Arthur
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Le Morte d'Arthur

by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  22,326 ratings  ·  500 reviews
The legends of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table have inspired some of the greatest works of literature--from Cervantes's Don Quixote to Tennyson's Idylls of the King. Although many versions exist, Malory's stands as the classic rendition. Malory wrote the book while in Newgate Prison during the last three years of his life; it was published some fourteen year...more
Paperback, 938 pages
Published February 22nd 1999 by Modern Library (first published 1485)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Le Morte d'Arthur, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Le Morte d'Arthur

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Madeline
FINALLY finished this last night. No exaggeration: I have been reading this book for six months. Not six continuous months, mind you. I kept the book by my bed and would try to read a little bit every night, but I could never manage to read more than twenty pages in a single sitting, and I would usually be reading another book in the meantime and forget about Le Morte d'Arthur for weeks at a time.

This thing is a hell of a slog, in other words. Sure, there are knightly adventures and duels aplen...more
Nikki
I'm so glad I finally read Le Morte Darthur. I've loved the King Arthur stories ever since I was little and read what I think was a retelling by Enid Blyton. I actually read this for my Late Medieval Literature class, but I'd have read it someday anyway. The copy I read was an abridgement, which is probably a good thing as parts of it got quite tedious as it was. The introduction to this version is pretty interesting -- and, by the way, my lectures on it were wonderful.

I subscribe to the view th...more
Michael
I just recently finished reading "Le Morte d'Arthur", and it was an interesting experience. It defies categorization. Not a novel, not an epic poem, not exactly a collection of myths, more than a collection of folk stories, certainly a product of a Christian imagination, but very earthy. Repetitive, but after I got into the rhythm of it, not boring. Once you submit your prejudices to the vision of the author, you become able to enter into this strange world of kings, knights, ladies, wars and to...more
Maureen
cross-posted at booklikes and the mo-centric universe.

my copy of le morte d'arthur is the classic and complete vinaver edit and i highly recommend it. i haven't read it in years but picking it up now, i assure you this copy is well-thumbed and annotated from my first reading in university. in the first fifty pages, i have written in a very small hand above words to explain their meanings, as i did when reading other, older middle english works much more difficult to ken. still, i smile when i s...more
Jaclyn
At long last hath I enchieved the goodliest quest of 937 pages of Ye Olde English!

937 pages of damosels and knights smiting everych other and breaking their spears all to-brast, and tourneys and "justing" and villainous kings who traitorly slew... oops, there I go again. I'm just! so! happy! I've been reading this book since February (it's now November) and inasmuch as I thought I was prepared because of that one Christmas that Mr. Murray wrote the family Christmas letter in Ye Olde English... r...more
Sky
Dec 20, 2007 Sky rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Medieval Lit. Nerds
As a piece of engaging fiction Le Morte D'Arthur is bound to disappoint unless you are unabashedly entertained by similar cycles of knights questing again and again. Structurally Mallory's work is repetitive and contains a questionable moral structure.
But as an origin of British legends and the development of the English Language it is an essential work.
Its been interesting for me to look at one of the most definitive entries into the canon of England's national pride but it becomes strange whe...more
Kathleen
Of all the patriarchal, Christianity biased interpretations of Arthurian myth, this is the most misogynistic. Yes, I know one must judge a book by it's time period, but if ever a book infuriated me by illustrating the virgin-whore paradigm, this one has. Not only do most of the female characters completely fail to have names, but those that do are either shrewish sluts or purely chaste and looking to die for God. Also, Sir Gawain is ruined. Also, Merlin is the son of the devil. Also, the Lady of...more
Mary
I decided to review Le Morte d'Arthur, even though it has been SO long since I read it. I don't remember everything, but I remember how how fascinating it was. It was a hard read; I remember that. I remember why I decided to read it, too. I had been browsing in the library, and I happened to see the book on some obscure shelf and I noticed it was misfiled. I thought to myself, "is that in French?"

Fast forward to the next day at my state Knowledge Bowl competition (please no nerd jokes here, I'm...more
Matt
I still have trouble believing I made it all the way through this. I really did have to struggle through it, and I feel bad saying that because this is a classic. It might not be the oldest written form of Arthurian Legend, but it what all others are based on. It's obviously a classic. However, it was written in the 1490s (yes, that's right, I said 1490s). A lot simply wasn't invented yet. For example, the quotation mark, or any punctuation except for a period. Also, there are a lot of archaic w...more
AEriko
Jan 23, 2014 AEriko rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Arthurian and/or Medival British Literature
This book is a cornerstone of Arthurian literature, and an engaging read. Once I got used to the language, it was something that really captured my imagination. It has its problems, but that's to be expected of something cobbled together out of multiple legends from multiple countries and written by an accused rapist in a prison.

Le Morte Darthur was the first manuscript to pull the widely disparate King Arthur stories into one comprehensive narrative. As a result, it has issues with previously...more
Clarissa Olivarez
This is the ONLY version of Le Morte d'Arthur that you should EVER read. Complete with Early Modern English and absolutely NO dumbing down of the material. Great stuff.
Ben
Alas! who can trust this world? - Sir Launcelot du Lake


Malory recounts epic episodes of tournaments, aimless adventures, noble quests, conquests and civil war. Magical prophets and incestuous adulteries plague the royal court but let the world remember Arthur as the once and future king! Despite the sometimes ridiculous episodes of knight-errantry, I did learn to respect the chivalry and the knight's code which governs the events and exposes admirable characteristics among soldiers and economic...more
Nikki
It took me a long time to get through this unabridged, untranslated version of Le Morte Darthur, but it is -- for the most part, anyway -- worth it. The fact that Malory himself gave up on Tristan is a fair indication of that, and of course this is a hyper-masculine text and there are dozens of loving descriptions of battles and jousts, but the story of Arthur is, to my mind, one of the most powerful stories we tell (second only to that of Christ, in my mind). Nothing can bury that, not even a b...more
Sean DeLauder
I started reading this book almost 20 years ago, but made the mistake of reading T.H. White's The Once and Future King first. The difference in prose between a book written in the 1950s (White) and a book written in the 15th century (Malory) was so stark as to make this book nigh impenetrable. Needless to say, my memory of the book is having read up through a battle that seemed like a series of people losing their horses and going to get another in order to lose their horse again. The story read...more
Stephanie Ricker
I read Morte D'Arthur, or most of it anyway, a very long time ago. I remember not being all that enthused and a bit bored at the endless jousting. Really, there are only so many ways to make getting poked by a stick and falling of a horse sound good, guys.

However, reading it now for Medieval Lit, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it very much. The jousting was still boring (sorry, Malory), but the characterization was fascinating. Arthur is so painfully young at the beginning and really ha...more
Terry
As far as I'm concerned this is the edition of Malory's _Le Morte D'Arthur_ to read. The Middle English is really not so foreign that it requires 'translation' and even modernizing the spelling seems a bit superfluous to me as I felt the archaic spelling added to my immersion in the stories.

Malory is certainly not an easy read however, and his repetitions and digressions can become a bit tiring to the modern reader at times. That said, if you approach the text as a series of linked tales as oppo...more
Holly
Took FOREVER to finish. Normally that's a bad thing, but I totally needed all that time to get through it. I think I plowed through 100 pages or slightly more today just to have it done. I desperately want to get started on something else.

After reading this, I can't see where any of the legends we know of as King Arthur come from. Yeah, most of us are familiar with either Spamalot or Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There are most definitely traces of those in here. I can see where they pulled t...more
Neil
20130803-145624.jpg

Eugene Vinaver was a Russian medieval scholar who was born in Saint Petersburg in 1899. Vinaver's family moved to Paris in 1919 due to the Russian Revolution, thus giving Vinaver the chance to study under the eminent French medievalist, Joseph Bedier. In the late 1920s Vinaver moved to England and became the professor of French Language and Literature at the University of Manchester. Vinaver also founded the Arthuriania journal, which would later be renamed Medium Aevum. By 1929 Vinaver had pub...more
Neil
For me, there exist two great editions of medieval textual scholarship, one is Frederick Klaeber's edition of Beowulf, the other is Eugene Vinaver's edition of Thomas Malory's Arthurian Romances. Over the years, I've had the good fortune to lay my hands on the first, second and third editions of Vinaver's three volume edition and also the Matthews and Spisak edition of Caxton's Malory. While I'm not the worlds biggest fan of Arthurian literature or Malory, I do enjoy a well edited medieval text....more
Bryan
Mar 22, 2012 Bryan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a good (and lengthy, unabridged) story
*
March 6, 2012
I read through T.H. White's version of Arthur and then came back to this one by Malory. I think Malory's is dramatically better. The complex nature of Guinevere, Lancelot, and Arthur I found to feel more inspiring here as Lancelot eventually does swear off Guinevere (as shown when he refuses to kiss her at her request, towards the end of the book), whereas in White's version Lancelot never manages to swear her off on his own.

*
July 27, 2011
Note: When I wrote the commentary below, I...more
Sean
I really wanted to like this book, I did. It started out promising enough, with Arthur's campaigns against the British kings, the King of France, and the Roman Empire, and then the adventures of the various knights. Then Lancelot showed up, and immediately began to dominate the narrative. Knight is in danger? Lancelot happens by and saves him without even breaking a sweat. But I could cope with that.

Then Tristram showed up. He was basically a carbon-copy of Lancelot, down to the 'affair with my...more
Old-Barbarossa
First off, this review is for the OWC edition of the Winchester Manuscript edited by Helen Cooper. This is an edited version of Morte based on a manuscript copy of Malory's text, there are a few wee bits that Caxton changed for the printed edition he put out, including adding headings for chapters etc. This edition modernises the spelling of some words and edits out some of the repetition as well as streamlining the huge Book Of Tristram. Almost an abridgement...but as the manuscript is missing...more
Amanda
This is the original Arthurian legend. Some of the stories are interesting and others are rather mundane. I had to fast forward through some of the battle descriptions because they aren't very interesting. Basically, Sir So-and-So, son of Some Guy I Have Never Heard Of, sees his friend, Sir What's-His-Face de-horsed, so Sir So-and-So smites one of his enemies so Sir What's-His-Face can have a horse, etc.

Don't try to read the entire book straight. Take it in steps. After reading this you'll real...more
Dan
This is a fairly literal, but perfectly understandable transcription from original manuscripts, and academic versions of the book that has inspired scores of novels, movies, musicals, et cetera. Spelling has been regularized when necessary, and there is no criticus apparatus or footnotes to break the flow of narrative. Scholars looking for critical editions must search elsewhere. Lovers of medieval literature, Aurthurian legends, and courtly romances will find all they wish in this edition of a...more
Diana
I read this as part of my Middle English course when completing my English degree (which was a very long time ago now) but what I love about Le Morte D'Arthur is it's much more interesting and compelling than today's somewhat dumbed down and often cartoonish portrayals. You get a real understanding of the medieval outlook on consequences for actions (and a lot of guilt and maybe OCD).

Besides, this gives you a good background to better enjoying and appreciating the witty humour of Monty Python's...more
Clare
While I have read MANY versions of the Camelot mythos, the version I happened to listen to this time was a radio play by the BBC, the specifics of which I'll list below. I've copied them from a Goodread's friends account (here http://bettie.booklikes.com/post/5957... ... thanks, Bettie!)

There may be some spoilers below, but as most people are at least somewhat familiar with the story of Camelot it should be hard to "spoil" it for anyone. I happen to be a huge fan of Mark Gatiss, which is the mai...more
Mark Adderley
This is the standard cheap critical edition of Malory's Le Morte Darthur . . . sorry, Malory's works. Vinaver, the editor, takes a lot of liberties with the text.
Mark Adderley
Why on earth does anybody need a translation of Malory? It's not like his English wasn't pretty easy stuff anyway.
Lindsey
Hooo boy, this was a chore to get through. It was probably made much worse by the AWFUL audiobook narrator.

I should have heeded the many reviews on Audible. Some excerpts that I completely agree with after listening...

"The narrator tells all in a bored and offhand way which not only robs the story of any possible drama but becomes positively offensive after a while."

"As someone else wrote, he really does read the story like there is something very foul and distasteful right under his nose. Some...more
Bryn
I got about a third of the way through, and to my considerable shame, ran out of steam. It's a huge tome of a book. It has that classic story telling style, light on the emotional detail we take for granted in mnodern writing, heavier on who smited whom, and with what. The stories come thick and fast - if you get on with that sort of style - heroic, fable type writing - you may enjoy it. I struggled.

There are some great stories in here - the one with Gawain and the Invisible Knight is like somet...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
the power of merlin 2 19 Jun 10, 2014 11:30AM  
Which edition is unabridged? 5 23 Sep 30, 2013 08:05PM  
Is this the first book on the Arthurian legend? 3 24 Sep 24, 2013 08:26PM  
Ian Somerhalder F...: Camelot & the Arthurian legend 7 65 Oct 11, 2012 10:33AM  
Arthurian legend 5 36 Oct 02, 2012 08:24AM  
Translation 2 43 Aug 20, 2011 02:15AM  
Arthur's Aunts? 3 26 Jul 02, 2011 02:02PM  
  • Arthurian Romances
  • The History of the Kings of Britain
  • Idylls of the King
  • The Mabinogion
  • Parzival
  • The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights
  • The Quest of the Holy Grail
  • Tristan: With the Tristran of Thomas
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • The Book of Merlyn (The Once and Future King, #5)
  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends
  • Troilus and Criseyde
  • The Lais of Marie de France
  • The Romance of Arthur, New, Expanded Edition: An Anthology of Medieval Texts in Translation
  • King Arthur
  • The Romance of Tristan and Iseult
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...
King Arthur and His Knights: Selected Tales Le Morte d'Arthur, Vol. 2 Le Morte d'Arthur, Vol. 1 Tales of King Arthur The Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table

Share This Book

“This is the oath of a Knight of King Arther's Round Table and should be for all of us to take to heart. I will develop my life for the greater good. I will place character above riches, and concern for others above personal wealth, I will never boast, but cherish humility instead, I will speak the truth at all times, and forever keep my word, I will defend those who cannot defend themselves, I will honor and respect women, and refute sexism in all its guises, I will uphold justice by being fair to all, I will be faithful in love and loyal in friendship, I will abhor scandals and gossip-neither partake nor delight in them, I will be generous to the poor and to those who need help, I will forgive when asked, that my own mistakes will be forgiven, I will live my life with courtesy and honor from this day forward.” 30 likes
“In the midst of the lake Arthur was ware of an arm clothed in white samite, that held a fair sword in that hand. ” 12 likes
More quotes…