Andrew Lang (1844-1912), scholar, historian, folklorist, and versatile essayist, did perhaps his most important work on Greek literature; he collaborated on translations of the Odyssey and the Iliad and wrote three important books on Homer, arguing for unity. Like other classicists, he compares Malory and Homer and finds many similarities; although Malory’s work seems ‘structureless’, it is nevertheless ‘strong on the side of goodness’. In the essay below, Lang also discusses nineteenth-century adaptations of Malory and finds that neither Tennyson nor Swinburne has done him justice.
The essay was published as a preface to Sommer’s volume III (London: David Nutt, 1891), pp. xiii-xxv.
The learning about Malory has been so fully dealt with in this edition by an expert, that the comments of one who merely reads Malory for enjoyment may be confined to the enjoyable elements in his work. His, as Mr. Furnivall remarks, ‘is a most pleasant jumble and summary of the legends about Arthur.’ The knight was no great clerk in Celtic mythology, and perhaps no very discriminate judge of what was best to choose, what best to omit, in his ‘French books.’ He was content to tell of ‘noble and renowned acts of humanity, gentleness, and chivalry. For herein may be seen noble chivalry, courtesy, humanity, friendliness,
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Sir Thomas Malory:The Critical Heritage. Contributors: Marylyn Parins - Author. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 292.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.