Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Malory's Book of Arms: The Narrative of Combat in 'Le Morte Darthur'

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Malory's Book of Arms: The Narrative of Combat in 'Le Morte Darthur'

Article excerpt

Andrew Lynch, Malory's Book of Arms: The Narrative of Combat in `Le Morte Darthu?, Arthurian Studies 39 (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, I997). xx + I69 pp. ISBN o-85991--5 1-5. 29.50.

Students encountering Malory for the first time are apt to complain about his excessive (in their view) enthusiasm for descriptions of 'buffets', and even devotees admit to skipping over some of the battle and tournament scenes, especially in the meandering Book of Sir Tristram. But no one who has read Andrew Lynch's splendid study will be tempted to ignore `the narrative of combat', for he shows that it is `both a means and an end in Malory'.

Fighting is a constant in Le Morte Darthur, except at the very end, and Lynch's study ranges over the whole work as he deals with such topics as the importance of `good name' and the concealing or revealing of identity, the relation of martial prowess to ethical issues, the problem of narrative inconsistency, the significance of The Book of Sir Tristram (which in spite of its apparent incoherence he regards as `the very heart of Le Morte DarthaP), the characterization and liminal role of Palamides, the meaning of wounds, the representation of emotion, and gender roles. Again and again he draws our attention to some detail easily passed over, or a baffling scene which does not seem to fit in, and shows how crucial it really is to Malory's conception of his heroes and their activities; and he also offers original and stimulating commentaries on familiar episodes such as `The Poisoned Apple'. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.