The Noble and Joyous Book entitled:
LE MORTE D'ARTHUR
Notwithstanding it treateth of the birth, life, and acts of the said King Arthur, of his noble Knights of the round table, their marvelous inquests, and adventures, the achieving of the sangreal, and in the end, the dolorous and departing out of this world of them all, which book, reduced to English by:
Sir Thomas Malory Knight
The Arthurian Legend which today towers above all others is enshrined in Le Morte d'Arthur
written by Sir Thomas Malory and completed in 1470. This epic story, culminating with the death of King Arthur, is based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's much earlier one, but Malory introduces elements already popularised by the Romance-writers, and brings in other Arthur-related stories from elsewhere on the continent. So for the first time, 'The Sword in the Stone', 'The Round Table', 'The Quest of the Holy Grail', the adultery of Lancelot and Guinevere, and the tale of Tristram and Iseult (the most romantic of all that Malory tells, and a prelude to the final tragedy of King Arthur), are all brought into one more-or-less coherent single narrative.
Thomas Malory was, by all accounts, a rogue, as well as a (now) distinguished author. His rampant criminality (cattle rustling, ambush with intent to murder, robbery, extortion, rape, insulting an Abbot, etc) is why he spent significant parts of his life in prison, and were it not for the length of his final prison term we may not have Le Morte d'Arthur at all, because it was then, in prison, that he wrote its 507 chapters and more than 300,000 words.
"Le Morte d'Arthur" is Middle French for "la mort d'Arthur": the death of Arthur. It was first published in 1485 by William Caxton.
The cover is from an edition illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley.
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