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Malory: The Knight Who Became King Arthur's Chroniclerby Christina Hardyment
Synopses & Reviews
Virtually all modern versions of the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table are derived from a single book: Sir Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur (1469), one of the world's most renowned literary works. Yet the author, a fifteenth-century knight, has remained an enigma for centuries. Existing historical records imply that Malory was a criminal — accused of rape, ambush, rustling, and attacks on abbeys — and was imprisoned for most of his life.
Using evidence from new historical research and deductions from the only known manuscript copy of Malory's celebrated work, Christina Hardyment brilliantly resolves the contradictions about an extraordinary man and a life marked equally by great achievement and devastating disgrace. Malory is the fascinating chronicle of a loyal soldier enmeshed in the tangled politics of the Wars of the Roses. It is the story of a connoisseur of literature and exemplary writer who created a masterpiece meant to inspire princes and knights to high endeavors and noble acts.
“Camelot echoes marvelously through Hardyment's biography, making palpable Malory's desire for valor and honor in his own time.” Publishers Weekly
“Vivid writing....A richly and imaginatively realized account....Christina Hardyment succeeds wonderfully in bringing the fifteenth century to life.” Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Hardyment…is enthralled by the 15th century and does everything she can to convey the flavor of that era.” Los Angeles Times Book Review
“[This] book is a kind of literary exploration...[Hardyment] creates a thrilling epic of her own...enjoyably readable.” Edward Pettit, Philadelphia Inquirer
Sir Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur (1469) is one of the most renown books in the world. Virtually all modern versions of the Arthurian legends are derived from its energetic, memorably phrased and remarkably individual telling of the stirring exploits of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Yet the identity of the fifteenth-century knight who wrote it has remained an enigma for centuries. The existing records of his life imply that he was a criminal — accused of rape, ambush, rustling and attacks on abbeys — and in prison for most of his life.
Using evidence from new historical research and deductions from the only known manuscript copy of Malory's masterpiece, Christina Hardyment resolves the contradictions in this brilliant story of a man who was marked by great achievement along with deep disgrace. She depicts Malory as an experienced soldier — who fought against the French with Henry V and was closely connected with the Knights Hospitallers' battles against the Turks in Rhodes — an expert on tournaments, a connoisseur of literature, a loyal subject who was deeply involved in the troubled politics of the Wars of the Roses, and a writer who intended his great work to inspire the princes and knights of his own time to high endeavors and noble acts.
Christina Hardyment has not only given Sir Thomas Malory a biography worthy of King Arthur's greatest chronicler, she has also set it against a fascinating background: an age that would see the high-water mark of medieval chivalry and would also come to be seen as a bridge between the Middle Ages and the modern world.
About the Author
Christina Hardyment read history at Newnham College, Cambridge, and has twice held the Alistair Horne Historians' Writing Fellowship at St. Antony's College, Oxford. She is a writer and broadcaster with wide interests, and lives in Oxford, England.
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Biography » Literary
History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » Pre Tudor
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General