Arguably no medieval English literary work has had as far and wide a reach as Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur; among the many adaptations are Tennyson's "Idylls of the King", T.H. White's The Once and Future King and the Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot. It might also be argued that the late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century tradition of fantasy literature-from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings to George Lucas's Star Wars and beyond-owes much to the Arthurian tradition, rooted in English most strongly in Malory's Morte Darthur. Yet there has been no edition that draws on the results of the past generation's scholarship while presenting Malory's work in a form that is at once true to the original and accessible to the modern reader.
This new edition, which expands on the revised and expanded selection of Malory material that will be included in the third edition of The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, is all of those things. The extensive selections include most of the material concerning Launcelot and all of the Morte's two final tales; the language has been partially modernised to make the text accessible to the modern reader, while retaining the flavour of the original; the text has been carefully prepared from the Winchester manuscript; and the annotations are extensive.
Sir Thomas Malory (c.1405-1471) was the author of Le Morte Darthur. Frequently accused of robbery and other crimes, he completed his great work while in prison. Maureen Okun is a professor in the Department of English and Chair of the Department of Liberal Studies at Vancouver Island University. Her other books include The Broadview Pocket Guide to Citation and Documentation (2013).
Introduction Le Morte Darthur: Selections 1. From The Marriage of King Uther unto King Arthur [Selection: from the opening to the crowning of Arthur] 2. A Noble Tale of Sir Launcelot du Lake 3. The Book of Sir Tristram de Lyones [Selections: concerning Sir Launcelot and Elaine of Corbin] 4. The Noble Tale of the Sankgreal [Selections: the beginning of the quest, Sir Launcelot's adventures in the quest, the achievement of the Sankgreal] 5. The Tale of Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere 6. The Death of Arthur Appendix A: Manuscripts and Editions 1. Sample Page from the Winchester Manuscript (folio 409v) 2. William Caxton's Preface and Colophon to Le Morte Darthur 3. Sample Page from Wynken de Worde's 1498 edition of Le Morte Darthur (sig. S. v. verso) Appendix B: Source Material 1. From the Alliterative Morte Arthure [Mordred gives a threnody for Gawain, lines 3874-3885] 2. From the Stanzaic Morte Arthur [Arthur dreams of the Wheel of Fortune; Bedivere is reluctant to cast Excaliber in the lake; the ship of ladies carries Arthur away, lines 3446-3523] 3. From the Vulgate Story of Merlin [Arthur takes the sword from the stone] 4. From the Prose Lancelot I [Lancelot and Guenevere meet] 5. From the Prose Lancelot II [Guenevere kisses Lancelot for the first time] 6. From the Vulgate Death of Arthur (La Mort Artu) [Arthur reads the Maiden of Escalot's letter; Lancelot and Guenevere are caught in the queen's chamber] Appendix C: Romance and Chivalry 1. Illustration, Launcelot and Guinevere in bed, from Le Livre de Lancelot del Lac(folio 312v) 2. From Andreas Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love (excerpts from Book 1, the ""Rules of Love"" from Book 2) 3. From a Contemporary Account of the Tournament between Anthony Rivers Lord Scales and the Bastard of Burgundy (1467 CE) 4. From Ramon Lull, Book of the Order of Chivalry, "On th'Office that Appertaineth to a Knight" Works Cited and Recommended Reading