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Le Morte D'Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table

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3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  27,164 Ratings  ·  581 Reviews
From the incredible wizadry of Merlin to the passion of Sir Lancelot, these tales of Arthur and his knights offer epic adventures with the supernatural as well as timeless battles with out own humanity.
Paperback, 576 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Signet (first published 1485)
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Alannah 'to dress' means 'to set in place' or 'to set one's self'. On page 25 of my version it says "[...] and dressed his shield and took a spear [...]" So…more'to dress' means 'to set in place' or 'to set one's self'. On page 25 of my version it says "[...] and dressed his shield and took a spear [...]" So in that case it is 'to set his shield in place'(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Madeline
Aug 14, 2014 Madeline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ugh
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
Michael
Nov 27, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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
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
El
(I read this book as part of a reading project I have undertaken with some other nerdy friends in which we read The Novel: A Biography and some of the other texts referenced by Schmidt.)

This book reads like some jag-off had some time to kill in prison and was just putting words down on paper to keep himself from being super bored.

Oh, wait.

So no one really knows who Thomas Malory was, apparently, which is a story in and of itself much more interesting than this collection of loosely connected tho
...more
Jaclyn
Nov 27, 2008 Jaclyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
Sky
Dec 20, 2007 Sky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Medieval Lit. Nerds
Shelves:
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
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
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.
Matt
Dec 05, 2007 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ben
Apr 07, 2013 Ben rated it liked it
Shelves: english-lit
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
Rozhin
May 01, 2015 Rozhin marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
من عااااااااااااااااااشق ارتور و مرلین و شوالیه های میز گردم*.*
بچه بودم یکی از ارزوهام اینبود که برم کملوت
به استون هنچ هم همیشه علاقه خاصی داشتم*.*
کلا عالیه این افسانه ها*.*
Bill
Not quite read, but used as a reference along with more modern editions of Malory. The drawings by Aubrey Beardsley are remarkable and the raison d'être for this edition.
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
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
Warwick
It's a great edition of the text with excellent secondary materials and essays.

However, I am very disappointed that an edition which advertises itself as being "unabridged" and in "original spelling" in fact silently emends all yoghs and thorns to gh and th. Use of u/v and i/j has also been ‘modernized’. It seems utterly bizarre to go to the lengths of reproducing such trivial features as Lombardic rubrication, when the Middle English alphabet this work was written in has been edited out.
Sam Hickey
Le Morte d'Arthur! The foremost compendium of Arthurian legend in the English language. 800 or so pages of "justing" and "worshypful dedis" aplenty. When Malory was in prison he set himself the rather daunting task of compiling almost the entirety of Arthurian legend up to that point into a somewhat cohesive whole. Now, before I go on, be under no illusions here, while this is in prose, and it can indeed be seen as a proto-novel, you will be sorely disappointed if you expect it to act like a nov ...more
Stephanie Kelley
WOW that guy really took his time dying. & this was the *abridged* version
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
Bryan
Mar 22, 2012 Bryan rated it it was amazing  ·  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
May 26, 2012 Sean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 08, 2010 Old-Barbarossa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lucy Ibn al-Rashid

This is an enjoyable read to readers who are interested in Arthurian myths, but I have to say it was a bit boring.

The way it was written, it seemed that all these characters were wandering around like lunatics, running from place to place, fighting, killing people, whoring and just mentioning the name of the Lord for no apparent reason.

I was expecting something more intriguing, with lots of action and mystery and it was all very mild.

I guess other people might find it more interesting than I did
...more
Amanda
Jun 24, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 02, 2015 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval, fiction
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
Nov 25, 2012 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Jun 24, 2014 Clare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Micaela
Mar 01, 2016 Micaela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
The thing about Mallory is that you can't really read it cold. You need to be familiar with the story, because this is a dense, symbolist tome. Beautiful, but hard to read. I was fortunate to read it in what amounted to a King Arthur for Dummies class in college (the fun, fluff class that semester), so I even had an Arthurian expert guiding the process. On your own, I would say read some of the iconic stories in solo first, such as the Grail story and the Knight of the Cart, or read a modern ret ...more
Mark Adderley
Oct 07, 2009 Mark Adderley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Why on earth does anybody need a translation of Malory? It's not like his English wasn't pretty easy stuff anyway.
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Grimdark Fantasy: Le Morte D'Arthur: Amazing Bookstore Score!! 5 7 38 minutes ago  
the power of merlin 2 21 Jun 10, 2014 11:30AM  
Which edition is unabridged? 5 33 Sep 30, 2013 08:05PM  
Is this the first book on the Arthurian legend? 3 32 Sep 24, 2013 08:26PM  
Ian Somerhalder F...: Camelot & the Arthurian legend 7 67 Oct 11, 2012 10:33AM  
Arthurian legend 5 42 Oct 02, 2012 08:24AM  
Translation 2 45 Aug 20, 2011 02:15AM  
  • Arthurian Romances
  • The History of the Kings of Britain
  • The Mabinogion
  • Idylls of the King
  • The Quest of the Holy Grail
  • Tristan: With the Tristran of Thomas
  • The Lais of Marie De France: With Two Further Lais in the Original Old French
  • The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights
  • Troilus and Criseyde
  • Parzival
  • The Arthurian Encyclopedia
  • King Arthur's Death: The Middle English Stanzaic Morte Arthur and Alliterative Morte Arthure
  • The Romance of Tristan and Iseult
  • The Quest for Arthur's Britain
  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends
  • The Romance of Arthur, New, Expanded Edition: An Anthology of Medieval Texts in Translation
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...

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“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.” 51 likes
“Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross.” 17 likes
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