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Le Morte Darthur: King Arthur and his noble Knights of the Round Table von Malory, Thomas (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 01.09.2016
  • Verlag: anboco
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Le Morte Darthur: King Arthur and his noble Knights of the Round Table

We owe this our English Epic of Le Morte Darthur to Sir Thomas Malory, and to William Caxton the first English printer. Caxton's Preface shows (what indeed would have been certain from his appeal to the 'Knights of England' at the end of 'The Order of Chivalry') that however strongly he, 'William Caxton, simple person,' may have been urged to undertake the work by 'divers gentlemen of this realm of England,' he was not less moved by his own love and reverence for 'the noble acts of chivalry,' and his deep sense of his duty and responsibility in printing what he believed would be for the instruction and profit of his readers, 'of whatever estate or degree.' But to Sir Thomas Malory he gives all the honour of having provided him with the copy which he printed. And ever since, for more than four hundred years, successive generations have approved the fitness of Caxton's choice. For it is Malory's book, and not the older forms of King Arthur's story which we still read for enjoyment, and for the illustration of which scholars edit those earlier books. Only a true poem, the offspring of genius, could have so held, and be still holding its ground, age after age. It may be said that it is chiefly with boys, and with men who have formed the taste by their boyish reading, that the book is so popular. But is not this so with the Iliad too? Men of mature intellect and taste read and re-read the Iliad with ever new discoveries, appreciation, and enjoyment; but it may be questioned whether there are many, or even any, of them who did not begin those studies at school, and learn to love Homer before they knew that he was worthy of their love. And they who have given most of such reading, in youth and in manhood, to Malory's Morte Darthur will be the most able and ready to recognise its claim to the character of an Epic poem.

Produktinformationen

    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: watermark
    Seitenzahl: 500
    Erscheinungsdatum: 01.09.2016
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9783736411746
    Verlag: anboco
    Größe: 951 kBytes
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Le Morte Darthur: King Arthur and his noble Knights of the Round Table

INTRODUCTION.

1. The Authorship and Matter of the Book.

Origin of the Book.

We owe this our English Epic of Le Morte Darthur to Sir Thomas Malory, and to William Caxton the first English printer. Caxton's Preface shows (what indeed would have been certain from his appeal to the 'Knights of England' at the end of 'The Order of Chivalry') that however strongly he, 'William Caxton, simple person,' may have been urged to undertake the work by 'divers gentlemen of this realm of England,' he was not less moved by his own love and reverence for 'the noble acts of chivalry,' and his deep sense of his duty and responsibility in printing what he believed would be for the instruction and profit of his readers, 'of whatever estate or degree.' But to Sir Thomas Malory he gives all the honour of having provided him with the copy which he printed. And ever since, for more than four hundred years, successive generations have approved the fitness of Caxton's choice. For it is Malory's book, and not the older forms of King Arthur's story which we still read for enjoyment, and for the illustration of which scholars edit those earlier books. Only a true poem, the offspring of genius, could have so held, and be still holding its ground, age after age. It may be said that it is chiefly with boys, and with men who have formed the taste by their boyish reading, that the book is so popular. But is not this so with the Iliad too? Men of mature intellect and taste read and re-read the Iliad with ever new discoveries, appreciation, and enjoyment; but it may be questioned whether there are many, or even any, of them who did not begin those studies at school, and learn to love Homer before they knew that he was worthy of their love. And they who have given most of such reading, in youth and in manhood, to Malory's Morte Darthur will be the most able and ready to recognise its claim to the character of an Epic poem.

Malory a Poet.

Malory wrote in prose, but he had 'the vision and the faculty divine' of the poet, though 'wanting the accomplishment of verse'; and, great as that want is, we may apply Milton's test of 'simple, sensuous, and passionate,' and we shall find no right to these names more real than is Malory's. Every incident, the description of every event, is 'simple,' that is to say, complete in itself, while making a part of the whole story. The story is 'sensuous,' like that of Homer, and as every true poem must be, it is a living succession of concrete images and pictures, not of abstractions or generalized arguments and reasonings. These are the characteristics of the book, from its opening story of Igraine, which 'befell in the days of Uther Pendragon,' down to the death of the last four remaining knights who 'went into the Holy Land, there as Jesus Christ was quick and dead,' and there 'did many battles upon the miscreants or Turks, and there they died on a Good Friday for God's sake.' And for 'passion,' for that emotion which the poet first feels in a special manner, and then awakens in his hearers, though they could not have originated it in themselves, with the adventures of the Round Table and the San Greal, or the deaths of Arthur, of Guenever, and of Launcelot, we may compare the wrath of Achilles, its cause and its consequences, or the leave-taking of Hector and Andromache. It would, indeed, be hard to find anywhere a pathos greater than that of Malory's description of the death or 'passing' of Arthur, the penitence of Guenever, and her parting with Launcelot, or the lament of Launcelot over the King and Queen, and of Sir Ector over Launcelot himself. The first is too long to quote, but I may say that Malory has re-cast the old story, and all the poetry is his own. I give the two last:-

'Truly, said Sir Launcelot, I trust I do not displease God, for He knoweth mine intent, for my sorrow w

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