King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table (Puffin Classics) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2008/3/27
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They're Puffin Classics for a reason, it's because they're the best.
Step up to the Round Table and join the knights of the Realm!
King Arthur is one of the greatest legends of all time. From the magical moment when Arthur releases the sword in the stone to the quest for the Holy Grail and the final tragedy of the Last Battle, Roger Lancelyn Green brings the enchanting world of King Arthur stunningly to life. One of the greatest legends of all time, with an inspiring introduction by David Almond, award-winning author of Clay, Skellig, Kit's Wilderness and The Fire-Eaters.
Roger Lancelyn Green was born in 1918 and lived in Oxford and at his family home in Cheshire, which the Greens had owned for more than 900 years. He loved storytelling and was fascinated by traditional fairy tales, myths and legends from around the world. He was a professional actor, a librarian and a teacher. His retellings include Egyptian, Greek and Norse legends, plus a retelling of Robin Hood. He also wrote many books for adults, including a biography of his friend C. S. Lewis, creator of the The Chronicles of Narnia. Roger Lancelyn Green died in 1987.
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The downside is that certain significant things are omitted - things that the author probably found morally objectionable- such as the exact circumstances of how King Arthur's mother Igraine became married to Uther Pendragon. Also, Lancelot and Guinevere's relationship becomes more G-rated in this version. So does Sir Tristram and Isolt's relationship (or Iseult / Isolde - I forget how it's spelled in this version).
Apart from that, however, it's a very good book in it's own right. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The ending was especially epic.
And if you are a serious Arthurian fan, you'll need to read Le Morte d'Arthur anyway. So you can familiarize yourself with the spicier details of the story that way. (I also highly recommend Beroul's version of The Romance of Tristan for a more in-depth story about Sir Tristram a.k.a Sir Tristan and Iseult the Fair.)
In the foreword, Knowles' Wife writes that Lord Tennyson referred to himself as the foremost scholar of the Arthurian legends and said that Knowles was perhaps the next behind him. A bit pretentious perhaps but it does give a bit of a pedigree to the contents. Don't let that dissuade you from adding this work to your collection. I have not read Le Morte D'Arthur for some time but it certainly seems that Sir Knowles has added a few stories and tales that perhaps were not available to Sir Malory. I do not recall them at any rate and would need to do a side by side to verify that. All in all this a nice collection of Arthurian tales and stories. It is certainly well worth the price, "free".
of an enemy approaching. He orders that a
castle be built within 100 days as a refuge from
the oncoming attack. The story leads into a
tremendous battle between dragons in a lake
Merlin predicts that the outcome of the battle
represents Britain's eventual decline. The stories
build up to the end of King Arthur's reign due to
the war with Sir Lancelot.
The story is thoroughly engaging for readers everywhere.
The verse is written in an "Old English" colloquial style which
adds to the interesting aspect of the stories presented.
readers who wish to delve into the rich legends and lore where the rules of Chivalry dictate the action and
in which the exploits of errant knights are captured in all their glory.
In this work by Sir James Knowles, we are treated to these outlandish tales through a very Victorian lens.
While some reviewers may see this as a deterrent, I found that this perspective took very little
away from this fine work and, in some ways, enhanced the storytelling to a degree. The detractors focus on what's
not written. The broader influences of Merlin say, or the omission of certain tales (the green knight), or how
the dalliances of Lancelot are written in such a way to suggest it was a misunderstanding and not an affair. But
understand, while I too wish these were more plainly wrought, there is still much here to enjoy.
Many other sources may have a leg up (Pyle's three book narrative especially) but there is a certain preciousness
or innocence to these works that Sir James manages to capture that in some ways surpasses these works in terms of
romantic ideals. And, honestly, the courtly romance is truly what is at the heart of all Arthurian legends. The
epic adventures are nothing without the grounding of the courtly, chivalrous love that inspires them.
To a modern reader, this may be a point of frustration. It is hard for us to look upon the actions the knights
have to take to fulfill their promises without a certain amount of cynicism. Most will roll their eyes each time
a night promises to fulfill an obligation to a woman without first ascertaining if the woman is true or if she is
not a woman but a witch, etc. But again, it is the utter idealization of Arthur's court and the romantic notions
winding their way through the symbolic adventures that make these stories worthwhile.
Once you can accept these ideals, you will find the stories themselves to be chock full of adventure. Note that
redundancy is also an issue here. Fights always take an "hour or two", with pages devoted to horse provisions,
damsels are always more than they seem, and all valiant knights of the Round Table face 40/1 odds and always
slay opponents on both the left and the right. These scenes and phrases abound to the point where you often
can find yourself skimming large portions of the action scenes if you are not careful.
At about the 2/3 point, however, Galahad joins the crew and the whole focus of the book shifts. The courtly code
no longer is as obtrusive, and the focus goes from finding adventure to pursuing the holy grail. Here the
supernatural elements seem to become doubled, and each and every page begins to drip with symbolism. Lineages to
ancient biblical figures are established, and Camelot is propelled to full mythic proportions. Fittingly, just as
you begin to accept the godliness of these heroes, their very real humanity destroys them all.
Buying any Arthurian romance is worth the price of admission (in my opinion anyway). "Buying" it here as a free
E-read is even better. There are some disappointments with the format. Chapters are not as clean and the
many illustrations are described but are not to be found. However, these are available to view on the net if you
insist on seeing them. And as I said earlier, there are many versions available for purchase that can meet your
needs and many of them are free/public domain as well. But if you want to take a quick, accessible dive this
e-book will be a great first step into the realm of Camelot.
The illustrations are black and white and ofter are made to look like manuscript illuminations (but B&W) and many have a Celtic intertwined motif that I find enjoyable. Arthur was a Celt, after all, and the English were Angles, Saxons, and Jutes who invaded fertile farmlands which they took for their own forcing the Celt inhabitants to Wales and Cornwall, both with little desirable farmland. I laugh when I see Hollywood calling Arthur King of England. He fought the English bitterly if we believe he existed at all. Arthur became popular after the Viking Normans conquered England and Arthur was celebrated as the fighter of the people who took the Celts place, and were now being displaced. Compare with Robin Hood (Saxons were the good guys and Normans were the bad guys) for the other side of the story.
There are 14 chapters here that cover the usual suspect in Arthurian lore.
If I had to criticize it at all, I would say it is a little cramped in presentation and presents itself as if it has more inertia than a more modern book. Personally, I like that but some might view this as a bit dated. Guess what? It is old-fashioned, and closer to the feel of the original stories.