The Death of King Arthur: Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, a Retelling by Peter Ackroyd

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For those who have enjoyed the exploits of the Knights of the Round Table through T. H. White’s soap operatic Once and Future King and/or the musical Camelot it was based on, we now have Ackroyd’s delightfully robust retooling (a paraphrase rather than a translation) of Malory’s 15th century masterpiece. The retelling is almost biblical in its cadence and an excellent use of the editor’s knife allows the narrative pace to hurtle along from one adventure to the next. There is a melancholic feel to the tale that even each character’s lack of psychological complexity cannot hide. Acts of chivalry, duty and love are jarringly juxtaposed with random cruelty, treachery and trickery. Honor is everything. And proves the reason for the downfall of many a good knight. They’re all here:  the oft-confused Arthur, mighty Lancelot, fickle Guinevere, magical Merlin, conniving Modred, the ill-starred lovers Tristam and Isolde, treacherous Gawain, heroic Galahad and many more.  And for a beautiful stretch the quest for the Holy Grail eclipses the adventures of the Round Table. Check our Catalog.

© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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