Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Malory and His European Contemporaries: Adapting Late Arthurian Romance Collections

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Malory and His European Contemporaries: Adapting Late Arthurian Romance Collections

Article excerpt

Miriam Edlich-Muth, Malory and his European Contemporaries: Adapting Late Arthurian Romance Collections (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer; Rochester, NY: Boydell & Brewer, 2014). ix + 186 pp. ISBN 978-18438-4367-2. £50.00.

As the title of this new monograph on Malory indicates, the geographical, chronological, and linguistic scope it proposes is impressive. Working across five languages and areas and using a comparative approach, Miriam Edlich-Muth examines Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur alongside four Arthurian collections, two from the fourteenth century (the Italian Tavola Ritonda and the Dutch verse Lancelot Compilation), and two from the fifteenth (Ulrich Fuetrer's German verse Buch der Abenteuer and Micheau Gonnot's French Arthuriad). However, only the Tavola and the Buch seem to receive any sustained attention, with the Dutch and French anthologies being referred to sporadically throughout the text. The author's declared aim is to make the four ?lesser known collections more accessible to Anglophone readers and [enable] a clearer understanding of the process of adaptation' (p. 6). In this the author succeeds admirably, by carefully structuring the study into chapters starting from the sources drawn on, as well as structures resulting from the adaptation process and the methods at work in each text (ch. i), followed by a survey of the narrative choices made by their respective authors in stylistic terms so as to achieve a personal style (ch. 2). In the second part of the study Edlich-Muth turns to time and genealogy (ch. 3), the effects of changes operated by all five authors in the narrative structure of their Arthuriad (ch. 4), and at character level (ch. 5). In each of these chapters significant space is dedicated to background information, as one would expect, while the index helpfully outlines the manuscript and print history of the texts. …

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