Le Morte D'Arthur

  • by Sir Thomas Malory
  • Narrated by Frederick Davidson
  • 32 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Troy

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!


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- Az User

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-27-2007
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.