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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Important Arthurian Works: Le Morte d'Arthur

Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur was one of the earliest printed books in England and is probably the best-known work of English-language Arthurian literature today. It was originally written as eight books and then published as 21 books by William Caxton in 1485.

Malory likely started work on the project in the early 1450s while he was in prison and completed it by 1470. His aim was to create a comprehensive and authoritative collection of Arthurian stories. To that end, he largely translated the French Vulgate Cycle and compiled them with other Middle English sources.

The original eight books were:
  • Book I: From the Marriage of King Uther unto King Arthur that Reigned After Him and Did Many Battles (Caxton I–IV)
  • Book II: The Noble Tale Between King Arthur and Lucius the Emperor of Rome (Caxton V)
  • Book III: The Noble Tale of Sir Launcelot Du Lac (Caxton VI)
  • Book IV: The Tale of Sir Gareth of Orkney (Caxton VII)
  • Book V: The First and the Second Book of Sir Tristrams de Lione (Caxton VIII–XII)
  • Book VI: The Noble Tale of the Sangreal (Caxton XIII–XVII)
  • Book VII: Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere (Caxton XVIII–XIX)
  • Book VIII: The Death of Arthur (Caxton XX–XXI)


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