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Le Morte d'Arthur

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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  33,202 ratings  ·  854 reviews
In a time when there were damsels in distress to save, and mythical dragons to slay, King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table were there to render justice in the face of any danger. From the incredible wizardry of Merlin to the undeniable passion of Sir Launcelot, these tales of Arthur and his knights offer epic adventures with the supernatural, as well as timeless b ...more
Hardcover, Complete, Unabridged, New Illustrated Edition, 950 pages
Published March 15th 2004 by Barnes and Noble Books (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)
David The Norton Critical Edition is full, unedited, unabridged. It reproduces the Middle English, even down to writing names in a different script just…moreThe Norton Critical Edition is full, unedited, unabridged. It reproduces the Middle English, even down to writing names in a different script just like the original manuscript did.(less)

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Madeline
Aug 14, 2014 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 aplenty, but
...more
Michael
Nov 15, 2009 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
Markus
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ultimate piece of Arthurian legend? Perhaps.

It took me a quarter of a century as a passionate lover of mythology and fantasy to read Le Morte d'Arthur, and in the end I only did so because I've started regularly encountering and listening to people who know much more about Arthurian literature than I do. Sadly, the... academic approach lead me to get little enjoyment out of this. I'm sure it's great, but I couldn't enjoy it like I can modern iterations of the mythos like The Winter King and T
...more
Jaclyn
Dec 02, 2007 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
...more
Roy Lotz
It happened one Pentecost when King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table had all assembled at the castle of Kynke Kenadonne and were waiting, as was customary, for some unusual event to occur before settling down to the feast, that Sir Gawain saw through the window three gentlemen riding toward the castle, accompanied by a dwarf.

I fully expected to dislike this book. The prospect of five hundred pages of jousting knights struck me as endlessly tedious, and I only opened the book out of a sense
...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
...more
Janete
Aug 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
This text isn't the original one, but a short version adapted for English learners. In my opinion, the editors of this book have summarized the original text too much and there are still passages of the text that are too slow and repetitive, but there are also passages where the action is very quick and superficial. But the CD narration is very good, so I'm giving 3 stars for this. If it weren't for the CD, I would give it 2 stars.
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 collecti
...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.
Maureen
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: collected
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 see that i have cop
...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
Sky
Dec 20, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 stran
...more
Shannon
It drags at times but its the legend of King Arthur and his knights.

This audiobook was a whopping 19 hours.

I will likely listen to this again.

OVERALL GRADE: B to B plus.
Lauren Stoolfire
King Arthur and Merlin are some of my favorite characters yet somehow I had never read this book. Now I can officially say that it's definitely worth reading. Yes, it is very long, repetitive, meandering, and featuring many character with similar names, but it is still incredibly magical to explore for the first time. Now I feel like digging into more stories featuring the King Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table.

...more
Matt
Dec 05, 2007 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
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.
Rick Davis
I read through this book the first time in 11th grade and many times since.
Kris
May 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. Finally done. I ploughed through the first couple "books" of this as an audio book. Calling it quits. Good riddance.

There are so many names and interactions flying by that it's hard to grab hold of anything and stay invested long-term. All the characters, men and women alike, seem like nothing but cheap stereotypes (not even an archetype, for that would be deeper) -- everyone is either an honorable knight, a backstabbing knight, the mysterious magician, the virtuous maiden, or a
...more
Czarny Pies
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers with a high pain threshold
Shelves: english-lit
The mind-numbing repetitiveness and unrelenting brutality of "Le Morte D'arthur" make it absolute hell to read. However, it also contains moments of sublime imagination and stands as a remarkable synthesis of the Arthurian legends. "Le Morte D'arthur" has inspired countless better works. My favourites would be Wagner's "Parisfal" and "Tristand und Isolde". Malory's anthology continues to have enormous influence on Europe's poets, composers, painters and novelists. It is arguably well worth the t ...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
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 lik ...more
Ben
Mar 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 econ
...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
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.
Bryan
Dec 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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: W
...more
Sam
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
Sean
May 26, 2012 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 'aff
...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 t
...more
Diana
Nov 05, 2012 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 Mon
...more
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192 followers
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.
“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.” 76 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.” 28 likes
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