King Arthur and His Knights: Selected Tales
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King Arthur and His Knights: Selected Tales

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  10,343 ratings  ·  101 reviews
This thoroughly readable collection of Malory's famous stories of King Arthur includes the familiar legends, plots, exploits, and characters which have become part of the cultural tradition of the English-speaking world.
Book Details: Format: Paperback Publication Date: 3/27/1975 Pages: 231
Paperback, 231 pages
Published March 27th 1975 by Oxford University Press (first published 1860)
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The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jacob GrimmThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Complete Fairy Tales by Hans Christian AndersenThe Neverending Story by Michael EndeKing Arthur and His Knights by Thomas Malory
Fantasy books worth reading
5th out of 18 books — 4 voters
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryEast of Eden by John SteinbeckPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott
Favorite classics books
41st out of 133 books — 7 voters


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Duncan
The story itself is pretty dull: fight a battle, do great deeds, slay the enemy, rescue a damsel or escape from an evil sorceress, fight another battle, do great deeds, slay the enemy, go hunting or jousting, fight another battle...

There's little character development. The men are pretty much all brave and heroic and little more, and the women are virtually all either fair maidens in need of rescue or enchantresses trying to do something awful. The story doesn't really develop either. Arthur bec...more
Sarah
Jul 26, 2012 Sarah rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: NOBODY
Shelves: fantasy, kindle
I have this affliction. If I start a book, I HAVE to finish it. All my life, pretty much. I'm not sure I remember when I last (or ever) didn't finish a book. Until now.

All my knowledge of the Arthurian legends is hearsay or pop-culture interpretations, so when I bought a Kindle and saw all the classics I could get for free, I jumped right on this one as a chance to get some more "original" references to King Arthur in my cultural experiences. Oh, how I wish I hadn't bothered.

Firstly, the writing...more
Mary Overton
Sir Thomas Malory (d. 1471) spent much of his final 20 years in prison. During those decades he translated into English and rewrote the French Arthurian romances. Stories of Grail quests, lovelorn knights, and the Round Table had been wildly popular literature in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Eugene Vinaver writes in the 'Introduction' that Malory was 'a man bred up in arms who valued the dignity of knighthood above all else. Most of his knights are men of brief speech and unsophisticated behaviou...more
Andrew O
I'm going to be charitable and give this 2 stars. These stories may have been entertaining 400 years ago, but literature has greatly advanced, and societally has advanced form being mostly illiterate to highly literate.

These stories may be fun to read one a night to your kids, but when done rapidly they wear on one, the characters have no personality and the action consists of sentence after sentence of who smote who with their sword, and then at the end a helm gets cleaved in two.
Robert
It is good to read one of the sources that inspired later renditions. I am depressed to hear some disrespecting the story because they have trouble with an older style of writting. Folks, this is the bedrock and foundation of the later tales which have been such a mine for later authors. (That is, grist for the mill.) This is that which inspired the later tales, if you can't see what inspired the authors of later ages, then perhaps you lack the deeper vision.
Mark Adderley
This is Malory's Le Morte Darthur, but separated into separate stories and, in the case of one tale (The Knight of the Cart) actually re-located to a different point in the story. The Grail story is so heavily abridged that it would be incomprehensible to someone who hadn't already read the Morte. There are much better texts of Malory thann this!
Veleda
I've joked that Thomas Malory wrote Le Morte d'Arthur before they invented characterization, and James Knowles doesn't improve on that in his retelling. Characters do things without any deep sense of why they are doing those things. This is a very dry telling of Arthurian legend, with little emotional depth.

Nonetheless, Knowles's work contains many less well known pieces of Arthurian legend, and so is valuable for that. And of course it has many familiar and well loved stories. Worth reading if...more
Mark
I did not enjoy this book at all, and that was a shame as I had longed to read the Arthurian legends for a while now. However, I found this book ponderous, over-written and at times insulting.

The author goes at great lengths to anglicise-Arthur which in itself is understandable as his legend has him as Britain's greatest king and that Camelot is traditionally in England.

However, what is not necessary is the demonization of the Welsh, Irish and particularly the Scots. As a Scotsman I found this h...more
Jeff Valluzzi
A very dry and often unintentionally hilarious book. It's interesting to learn the stories of King Arthur, especially to realize that these were the folktales of a people. I didn't find myself drawn to the stories at all, partly because of how ridiculous some of them were (King Arthur kills 100,000 Roman men and is crowned Emperor, King Arthur agrees to kill his wife because someone choked to death during a dinner she cooked), but also because I saw very little value in any of the characters wit...more
Tommy
It was kind of interesting to hear some of the stories of King Arthur and the Knight of the Round Table but at the same time there was a lot of 'they fought for a really long time and then one knight struck the on the head down too his shoulder' and 'there was a sword that no one could get for whatever reason (stuck in a stone, enchanted) except for the noblest/best/whatever knight'. These themes were a little monotonous for my liking.

In terms of genres for comparison I found myself comparing th...more
Tait Sougstad
If for nothing else, this was an interesting study of how the "golden age" of King Arthur's legendary realm was one of pseudo-Christian syncretism. A Jesus-ish vocabulary is used throughout, and his relics venerated, but without a connection to the actual Jesus of the Gospels. Magic and murder are sanctioned as Christened acts.

However, the reason this was such a page-turner was the hilarious chivalry that is so prevalent in the Masculinity-revival of young, American males these days. When the Ho...more
krah
I'm normally a huge fan of anything King Arthur, Camelot or just plain medieval, but when it came down to this story I was more interested in just finishing towards the end. There is a lot of repetition, especially when the story involved a traveling knight coming across other knights. While interesting in the beginning, their fights and jousts start to become cookie cutter. I'm not sure if the Old English made the language of the book sound less appealing to me or if I was just bored with the s...more
Kim Landwehr
The story isa familiar tale of Western Literature. The story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Many of the characters are familiar, Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot, Lady Guinevere however there are many that I did not recognize. It is full of adventure, including wizards, enchantresses, giants, and even dragons, knights and damsels in distress. The way the women are portrayed in the story is my least favorite part of the story, they are either portrayed as weak and helpless or ungratef...more
Becky Ginther
I've been interested in Arthurian legend and wanted to go back to one of the "roots" of the stories, and Malory's is always mentioned. Instead of reading the full book I got this version with selected tales.

Yes, these stories were written hundreds of years ago and the writing style is rather old fashioned, making it a little difficult to get through. The plot was not nearly as exciting as I was expecting it to be. I have to admit that several parts of the book made me laugh, even though I'm not...more
Prita
King Arthur ! Lancelot ! Salah satu kisah dari British Isles yg selalu bikin gue penasaran. Jujur, hampir semua novel klasik yang gue baca, berawal dari ketika gue nonton film. Mulai baca buku ini juga karena nonton film King Arthur, tapi di film itu ceritanya happy ending dan sangat disimplify. Setelah baca buku2 ttg King Arthur and His Knights, gue semakin mengerti betapa rumitnya kisah mereka. Semakin sulit untuk menilai tindakan Genevieve terhadap Arthur ataupun Lancelot, kisah ttg Kinghts l...more
Anilecia
I understand how people could have trouble reading this book. I almost put it down after the first couple of stories because it was incredibly boring, but those are the tales of secondary character knights (Sir Galahad, etc.). Once you get to the stories of principal characters, it becomes much more interesting.
Theresa Polmounter
Great adventure

For all of those who really want to leave the troubles of the world we live in.Read on and let yourself believe in fairness and good once again.
Ronna H. Kelly
King Arthur

I choose 5 stars because it's a good entertaining read for people of most ages
It's also interesting thing to know about and makes you want King Arthur to come back and have another story
Lydia
This book was written by a guy in a jail cell in the late 1400's and is based off of the popular oral story telling of his day.

I like that it is broken into a collection of tales, rather than one long-form book. One can choose a character (Arthur, Launcelot, Sir Gareth) and read his tale independently.

There is a lot of "he smote him", confusing action sequences, and characters that suddenly appear and disappear with no introduction nor resolution, but such is the oral tradition: simple narrati...more
Tom Connolly
I love classic stories of good versus evil, of heroic deeds, and there is a reason this is a classic. As a reader, I often grinned at the sense that those people who know this story only from Hollywood are missing out on some great stories. It is a shame that movies take the focus off the faith of the characters, the complexity of their emotions and interactions. Written as more a collection of stories, I would highly recommend this book as something to be read to little ones, maybe K4-2nd grade...more
Droid
I enjoyed it because the whole thing was like a Monty Python sketch. Hilariously over-the-top. As far as I can tell, back in the day, jousting fulfilled the same purpose as hand-shaking does today. Everyday was pure epicness, and the battle wasn't over until you'd skewered five men on your spear with a single strike. Stomach sliced open? Deal with it! - you can still fight on from dawn to dusk!

Favourite quote " Sir Lancelot increased in fame and worship above all men, for he overthrew all comers...more
Samuel
I liked this book at the start. Reminded me of Errol Flynn's version of Robin Hood in the way it depicted "high adventure" and in the way they talked.

After a while, however, it got to be incredibly repetitive as one knight after another goes out on a quest, kills someone (often someone he used to know who has gone bad), rescues the girl, then comes back to Arthur's England as a hero. If you've read the first third of the book, you've read the rest of it.

The most interesting part to me was when A...more
Mom
Couldn't finish. It began okay, but got way too redundant. The first knight was praised to the high heavens: he was the best looking, the best horse rider, the strongest, the bravest, etc. His battles were like old westerns; he could slay 10 of the enemy before they could unsheath their swords. So when the next knight came along, how could he be made any better? Yet, he had to be. So in his battles, he could slay 20 of the enemy before they could unsheath their swords! And the next, 100! So fort...more
Edward Hetzler
A different telling of the Arthurian legend.

The writing is stilted and archaic. The book is a series of loosely related tales rather than a coherent story. Some of the tales are familiar, but many are not.

This version of the Arthurian legend deals more with the knights of the Round Table than King Arthur. It is interesting and less fairy tale like then the more well known Arthur legend.
Julio
Un libro aburrido. Cuenta la historia de Arturo y sus caballeros, es cierto, pero quitándole la historia que todos conocemos (y que es interesante) queda un 80% de ociosidad caballeresca (llamada aventura en el libro) en que los caballeros no tienen otra cosa que hacer que buscar camorra una y otra vez, mientras las damiselas, que juegan un miserable rol en toda la historia (qué diferencia con la excelente Nieblas de Avalón) sólo esperan ser salvadas o morir de amor. Me costó acabar.
Michele lepori
A lot of knights fighting. The author uses always the same words to describe them, the rithm is from slow to very slow... ecc.ecc.

Neverthanless it was intresting to read about this topic (in Italy we don't read so much about King Arthur and his corpus of legends) and to try something different from the plane writing of today.


For non-english readers: a lot of "thou, thy...". In some passages it is no easy reading!
Caidyn
I read this on a free version on my e-reader, which probably wasn't the best idea. Boring for most of it and it had consistent spelling mistakes -- Modred for Morded and Morgan for Morgana -- that bothered me to no end. Along with that was how a damsel always needed saving and some battle always was happening. Too repetitive for my liking. I don't know if it was just this book, but I plan on trying another sometime soon.
Luisa
Although it is an incredible story and a lot of fun, I didn't give all the stars for this because I found it a little bit repetitive, with the use of the same words all the time. The story was a little bit confusing, but it is a good, fun read, that helped me understand the story better. The confusing part was who was who, it wasn't always well explained. Anyhow, it's fun! I recommend it!
Kevin
A great reminder of the Arthur legends, old English phrasing and chivalry. I enjoyed listening to this, because I imagine the "original" stories were actually told/heard and not written/read. The 8 year old boy in me was satisfied. I want to be noble and loyal as Sir Lancelot, and to fight 20 knights from horseback and lop peoples heads off would be kind of cool too!
Nebuchanezer
As much as i wanted to enjoy this book, i found it mostly to be very repetitive. The majority of the book seems to consist of good knight sees damsel in distress from bad knight, knights fight, good knight wins repeat ad infinitum. Only the improvement towards the end (quest for the Holy Grail onwards) saved this book from being truly dull
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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 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

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“Sir Lancelot increased in fame and worship above all men, for he overthrew all comers, and never was unhorsed or worsted, save by treason and enchantment.” 2 likes
“Then was the monument called "Stonehenge," which stands, as all men know, upon the plain of Salisbury to this very day.” 2 likes
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