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Le Morte D'Arthur | [Sir Thomas Malory]

Le Morte D'Arthur

This monumental work made the Arthurian cycle available for the first time in English. Arthur is conceived and taken away in secret, returning as a young man to claim the throne by pulling the sword Excalibur from the stone. In retelling the story of Arthur's rule of Britain, Malory intertwines the romances of Guinevere and Launcelot, Tristram and Isolde, and Launcelot and Elaine. Sir Galahad's appearance at Camelot begins the quest for the Holy Grail.
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Publisher's Summary

This monumental work made the Arthurian cycle available for the first time in English. Malory took a body of legends from Celtic folklore that had been adapted into French literature, gave them an English perspective, and produced a work that ever since has had tremendous influence upon literature.

The story begins with King Uther Pendragon's use of enchantment to lay with Igraine, Duchess of Cornwall. Arthur is conceived and taken away in secret, returning as a young man to claim the throne by pulling the sword Excalibur from the stone. In retelling the story of Arthur's rule of Britain, Malory intertwines the romances of Guinevere and Launcelot, Tristram and Isolde, and Launcelot and Elaine. Sir Galahad's appearance at Camelot begins the quest for the Holy Grail. Finally, Camelot is brought down by the conflict between King Arthur and his natural son, Mordred.

(P)1997 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The most authoritative version of the legend in the English tradition." (The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature)
"Le Morte d'Arthur remains an enchanted sea for the reader to swim about in, delighting at the random beauties of 15th-century prose." (Robert Graves)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.2 (76 )
5 star
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3.7 (54 )
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3.0 (53 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer DALLAS, TX, United States 02-24-14
    Amazon Customer DALLAS, TX, United States 02-24-14 Member Since 2012

    I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.

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    "Not Quite as I Remembered"

    Like so many, I grew up reading the tales of Arthur, and though it's been years since I've read this particular version of it, it's always stood out to me as one of the best versions. Let it be said that it's still a fantastic version, but it's nowhere near as straightforward as I remember it.

    The knights and their lineages are given rapidly (it's good to have Wiki or some other resource with you), and many of the story points are told out of order or given through prophecy. I realize that spoilers are a bit of a non-issue for a story like this, but for a first-timer, it's not the most friendly version. Then again, they do kind of give you all the spoilers in the book's description, don't they? Even so, it doesn't detract from the magic of the tales.

    This particular reading... skip it. Unless you're already predisposed as liking Frederick Davidson's narrating style, let this be a warning. Like so many other reviewers, I find his voice to be ok, but his tone and presentation make him come across like a British Tommy Lee Jones: bored, annoyed, and otherwise disgusted with the material. I have an abridged version on cassette narrated by Derek Jacobi that I bought some 20+ years ago, and it's a far, far superior reading. I'd love to find an unabridged version by him or someone with equal enthusiasm for the material.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Book Addict USAF 08-10-13
    Book Addict USAF 08-10-13

    .

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    "Wonderful story and reading."
    Would you listen to Le Morte D'Arthur again? Why?

    Le Morte D'Arthur is an easy listen and I would listen to it again because these timeless tales are always entertaining.


    Have you listened to any of Frederick Davidson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This book is just as great as other Frederick Davidson's readings. I don't know why some people do not like his voice, I find it great. Have you ever heard him read Les Miserabes by Victor Hugo...FANTASTIC!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john barnsby Washington DC, United States 01-31-13
    john barnsby Washington DC, United States 01-31-13 Member Since 2003

    john

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    "This reader is not for me."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I'd certainly recommend the book to a friend, but definitely not this specific recording.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Well, obviously the stories (which I heard bits and pieces of since childhood).


    How could the performance have been better?

    Honestly, it would be better if it used another reader. I read the other reviews complaining about this reader, but thought that maybe it was just the accent. I grew up in England, so I figured it wouldn't bother me. What I found is that it isn't the accent so much as the reader's style of reading. As someone else wrote, he really does read the story like there is something very foul and distasteful right under his nose. Somehow there also seems to be a constant note of condescension in his voice, like he's reading the story to what he thinks are group of not-too-bright school boys.It's very distracting.


    Was Le Morte D'Arthur worth the listening time?

    Since I ended up listening to it all over again with a different group of readers, no. Now the actual story (or really set of stories) is definitely worth the time -- it brings together some of the fundamental myths of western culture.


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of recorded books. Readers have their pluses and minus, but this one, with this book, is awful. I struggled through the first two books (about 10 hours) before I gave up and got the LibriVox version -- the amateur readers there do a much better job (and some can even pronounce the French correctly) :)

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kvisterizer Chicago 06-15-12
    kvisterizer Chicago 06-15-12 Member Since 2011
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    "An Unfortunate Production"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I got my MA in medieval literature, and was at first so psyched to see this text available as an audiobook — unfortunately, the choice of narrator is just ... SO bad! I absolutely love Malory's presentation of the Arthurian material, but this narrator sounds throughout the entire production as though he's just caught scent of something foul.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carpe Diem 06-19-09
    Carpe Diem 06-19-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Annoying narration"

    The narrator tells all in a bored and offhand way which not only robs the story of any possible drama but becomes positively offensive after a while. I couldn't finish this, life is too short.

    13 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Redding, CA, United States 01-16-11
    David Redding, CA, United States 01-16-11
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    "Chapter Marking are Helpful"

    The chapter markers are completely meaningless for chapters in the work. Really disappointed in that. The reading is good but you really have to pay attention as it is read really quickly without a lot of breaks between sections of the stories.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Beck United States 03-14-13
    Daniel Beck United States 03-14-13 Member Since 2004

    Bachelor Chef and Mathematician. I don't bother with books shorter than 20 hours, not worth the effort.

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    "With all the great readers why Davidson?"
    What would have made Le Morte D'Arthur better?

    A different reader


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I hated them all by the end of the second hour of this nightmare rendition of Sir Thomas Mallory's wonderful compilation.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Frederick Davidson’s performances?

    Nope


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I couldn't finish the book so it may have but I am unwilling to go further with it. I don't let someone hit me in the head twice, this narrator is as bad as Scott Brick.


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Genoa City, WI, United States 05-14-14
    Craig Genoa City, WI, United States 05-14-14 Member Since 2010

    An avid book "listener". As I own my own dental lab,I make teeth sitting at a bench all day, I have plenty of time to enjoy Audible titles

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    "Superheroes of Ancient England Assemble!"
    What did you love best about Le Morte D'Arthur?

    It is difficult to pick only one thing and so I feel the best part of this book is the fact that you may see the root from which so many other hero stories draw their inspiration.


    Have you listened to any of Frederick Davidson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have heard a number of Mr Davidson's performances and I feel that this one maintains the high standards that he has set before.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This is not a book for a single sitting. Putting it simply, there are just too many stories, characters and events for a single sitting (I had to break it up with something more modern; Hamlet). This is not truly flowing story because you are introduced to a astounding number of characters and the heroic events of their lives, which, putting it directly, makes this book better to be taken in sections in order to digest the events just listened to.


    Any additional comments?

    I was initially nervous about purchasing this book due the number of complaints about Mr Davidson's reading of it, but I can honestly say that his reading was excellent and that I have no idea why there are the complaints that there are or what provoked them. The reading was done by an Englishman about Englishmen and his variation of accent and attitude were excellent. The only complaint that I have ever had with Mr Davidson's characterizations were in the way he reads American accents, but as there are no Americans in this book I have no complaints about his performance.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer Chicago, IL 05-09-13
    Amazon Customer Chicago, IL 05-09-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Awful Narrator"
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    No emotion. Reading too quickly. Seemed to be just trying to get the story over with.


    Any additional comments?

    Should have gone with the abridged version

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-9 of 9 results
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  • Chris
    Holland
    6/6/13
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    "Fascinating stories, dreadful narration"

    One of those books I'd always wanted to read but never got around to, so the chance to listen to it whilst commuting was too good to miss. The stories are often odd, sometimes amusing and regularly exciting. They also give a fascinating glimpse into the way the mediaeval mind worked.

    However, I so nearly asked for a refund as the narration is quite simply diabolical. Frederick Davidson has a posh old Etonian-style accent and he enunciates well with no mistakes, but his delivery of the prose is as the dryest sermon you ever heard from some stuffy old vicar who has long since given up trying to win any new souls. There are no changes of mood, no excitement in the heat of battle, no sorrow or love, just stoic indifference (dearly beloved, blah, blah, blah). The dialogue is even worse as he changes hiis voice by moving back from the microphone, looking down his nose and expressing himself like a constipated wombat. Merlin, the kings, the knights of the round table and poor farmers alike are all afflicted with this most unnatural voice. Only Arthur himself (generally) manages to avoid the wombat treatment but instead sounds entirely effete.

    In short, I thoroughly recommend the book, but not this version.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • R
    6/16/14
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    "Very poor quality"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The quality of the book is far below par it sounds like it's been recorded from a tape via the world worst mic.


    Has Le Morte D'Arthur put you off other books in this genre?

    No I still like the genre


    How could the performance have been better?

    Better quality recording


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointed by this


    Any additional comments?

    I would remove it until you manage to get a recording of better quality

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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