Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Idylls of the King (Project Gutenberg, #610)

Availability: Ready to download

Alternate cover edition of ISBN10: 0140422536; ISBN13: 9780140422535 Written in the middle of his career, Idylls of the King is Tennyson's longest and most ambitious work. Reflecting his lifelong interest in Arthurian themes, his primary sources were Malory's Morte d'Arthur and the Welsh Mabinogion. For him, the Idylls embodied the universal and unending war between sense a Alternate cover edition of ISBN10: 0140422536; ISBN13: 9780140422535 Written in the middle of his career, Idylls of the King is Tennyson's longest and most ambitious work. Reflecting his lifelong interest in Arthurian themes, his primary sources were Malory's Morte d'Arthur and the Welsh Mabinogion. For him, the Idylls embodied the universal and unending war between sense and soul, and Arthur the highest ideals of manhood and kingship; an attitude totally compatible with the moral outlook of his age. Poetically, Tennyson was heir to the Romantics, and Keats's influence in particular can be seen clearly in much of his work. Yet Tennyson's style is undoubtedly his own and he achieved a delicacy of phrase and subtlety of metrical effect that are unmatched. This edition, based on the text authorized by Tennyson himself, contains full critical apparatus.


Compare
Ads Banner

Alternate cover edition of ISBN10: 0140422536; ISBN13: 9780140422535 Written in the middle of his career, Idylls of the King is Tennyson's longest and most ambitious work. Reflecting his lifelong interest in Arthurian themes, his primary sources were Malory's Morte d'Arthur and the Welsh Mabinogion. For him, the Idylls embodied the universal and unending war between sense a Alternate cover edition of ISBN10: 0140422536; ISBN13: 9780140422535 Written in the middle of his career, Idylls of the King is Tennyson's longest and most ambitious work. Reflecting his lifelong interest in Arthurian themes, his primary sources were Malory's Morte d'Arthur and the Welsh Mabinogion. For him, the Idylls embodied the universal and unending war between sense and soul, and Arthur the highest ideals of manhood and kingship; an attitude totally compatible with the moral outlook of his age. Poetically, Tennyson was heir to the Romantics, and Keats's influence in particular can be seen clearly in much of his work. Yet Tennyson's style is undoubtedly his own and he achieved a delicacy of phrase and subtlety of metrical effect that are unmatched. This edition, based on the text authorized by Tennyson himself, contains full critical apparatus.

30 review for Idylls of the King (Project Gutenberg, #610)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I have a beautiful, old edition of this book. I wish I could show you. On the book marker, in old-fashioned cursive, it says, Merry Christmas To Lottie from Dora Update: This is a truly beautiful work. Enchanting. Mesmerizing, really. There is just one little thing though... I'd heard rumblings of this book being misogynistic. Loving Tennyson as I do, I refused to believe it. Basically, I read the book like this: "Well, that's not necessarily sexist...Okay, it is. But, surely he didn't intend...Okay, he d I have a beautiful, old edition of this book. I wish I could show you. On the book marker, in old-fashioned cursive, it says, Merry Christmas To Lottie from Dora Update: This is a truly beautiful work. Enchanting. Mesmerizing, really. There is just one little thing though... I'd heard rumblings of this book being misogynistic. Loving Tennyson as I do, I refused to believe it. Basically, I read the book like this: "Well, that's not necessarily sexist...Okay, it is. But, surely he didn't intend...Okay, he did. But, that doesn't make it some kind of misogynist manifesto!...Bloody Hell." He's not just saying that women had a certain role or that certain women had a negative influence. He's clearly saying that women only hinder a man's more noble pursuits. Though there are good women in the book, they have little influence over events. Though there are bad men, they are likewise secondary or portrayed as deeply conflicted. Seems to me, when your only choices are, "naive virgin," "adulterous bitch," "frigid bitch," and "bitch," you're conflicted! But Tennyson's women, excepting Elaine and Guinevere, are one dimensional. It would seem Dora's message from the great beyond is, "Merry Christmas. Shut your whore face." At this point, you're probably wondering why I gave this book five stars if I hated it... I loved it. You see, there's just something about it, an otherworldly beauty. Not just beauty but undeniable truth. I love the tragic Elaine and the wantonly destructive Lancelot. I love Guinevere's incapacity for quiet contentment. I love how the holy quest for the grail was soured by by pride and greed. I love Enid's sweetness and Lynette's hilarious bitchiness. I love Arthur's high ideals and his bitter disillusionment. Most of all, I love the glimpse into Tennyson's own tortured psyche. Because, when you really look at it, this isn't a morality tale at all. It's loss of innocence. It's human nature. It's, by God, we really tried. Then Arthur rose and Lancelot followed him, And while they stood without the doors, the King Turned to him saying, `Is it then so well? Or mine the blame that oft I seem as he Of whom was written, "A sound is in his ears"? The foot that loiters, bidden go,--the glance That only seems half-loyal to command,-- A manner somewhat fallen from reverence-- Or have I dreamed the bearing of our knights Tells of a manhood ever less and lower? Or whence the fear lest this my realm, upreared, By noble deeds at one with noble vows, From flat confusion and brute violences, Reel back into the beast, and be no more?' He spoke, and taking all his younger knights, Down the slope city rode, and sharply turned North by the gate. In her high bower the Queen, Working a tapestry, lifted up her head, Watched her lord pass, and knew not that she sighed. I am a whore, dammit! A whore for Tennyson! "You don't have to shout." Sorry.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    I have read my softcover copy so many times it is falling apart. I really need to get a nice, illustrated, hard cover. I read this book several times a year. And sob hysterically at the end so that I can hardly finish. The saddest lines for me are (spoken by Arthur to Guinevere visiting her in the nunnery before the final battle with Modred): "Thou hast not made my life so sweet to me, That I the King should greatly care to live; For thou hast spoilt the purpose of my life." The agony in those lines I have read my softcover copy so many times it is falling apart. I really need to get a nice, illustrated, hard cover. I read this book several times a year. And sob hysterically at the end so that I can hardly finish. The saddest lines for me are (spoken by Arthur to Guinevere visiting her in the nunnery before the final battle with Modred): "Thou hast not made my life so sweet to me, That I the King should greatly care to live; For thou hast spoilt the purpose of my life." The agony in those lines! And her lying there, with her head in the sand at his feet, too ashamaed to even look at him, and him heartbroken, and yet, still he must be king. Having just come from battling his best friend and best knight and knowing he rides off to his death. It's awful. The poetry is not only beautiful, but in such short bursts, Tennyson is able to capture such powerful emotions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laurel Hicks

    “The city is built To music, therefore never built at all, And therefore built forever.” Ah, Tennyson! It feels like coming home. This book is music to me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bryan "goes on a bit too long"

    Idylls of the King is something I've wanted to read since I was a teenager--the title, the subject matter, the format all mixed together in my mind to suggest a work of astonishing grace and beauty. I might also add that I had a very naïve idea of what literature was capable of at that time--whatever the actual effect that literature might have on the reader, I was under the confused impression that reading classics like this would somehow augment me as a person, in the same way as someone who h Idylls of the King is something I've wanted to read since I was a teenager--the title, the subject matter, the format all mixed together in my mind to suggest a work of astonishing grace and beauty. I might also add that I had a very naïve idea of what literature was capable of at that time--whatever the actual effect that literature might have on the reader, I was under the confused impression that reading classics like this would somehow augment me as a person, in the same way as someone who happens to have a lot of money might think their personal value was increased as well. Suffice it to say that I realize now the only thing that makes someone a better person is what they do rather than what they know; great literature might assist in the decision making process by enlarging one's capacity for empathy, but as trophies on a shelf they don't mean much. Taking that into consideration, reading Idylls of the King back when I was a teenager (even assuming I would have finished it) would have been mostly useless, I think. It is a work of grace and beauty, but I would never have been able to see that. Probably all I would have been able to absorb was the fact that there was a lot less derring-do than I would have expected, and as a result, let the words pass in front of my eyes till I was done. Without some help, that might also have been my experience all these decades later. Thankfully, I had Harold Littledale's Essays on Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King, a (fre)e-book I found on Google Books. I doubt that was the best resource, but it was enough, and the price was right. Reading one of Littledale's essays just prior to reading one of the idylls made a tremendous difference--since I was familiar with the story, spoilers weren't an issue, and with Littledale's short summary and some explanatory notes in hand, I was able to concentrate on the poetry rather than have to split my attention and try to divine the action at the same time. Another GR poster summed up very succinctly my ideas about the Idylls before I'd started reading: "The title of this work...led me to believe that is would be a fairly cheerful work, but boy was I wrong." I took Idyll to mean idyllic, which made me think of innocence and pleasant summer days and happily ever afters. Instead, it struck me as a deeply melancholy book, with a spiritual subtext that added to the pervading sense of impending doom. This wasn't apparent in the beginning--the first five books held to what I initially expected, but with Balin and Balan, I thought there was a sharp turn in direction. Or, at least, a sharp turn if you aren't expecting it. But in looking back, it's part of a unified whole. Arthur comes to power with the goal of creating a new, chivalrous existence for his kingdom and his people, a return to a kind of golden age where both the clash of arms and spiritual reverence coexist. But, although Arthur himself may be capable of such purity, almost everyone he gathers around him is not, and from the very beginning, the illicit love of Lancelot and Guinevere causes a cancer that rots his kingdom away from the inside out. Those who are familiar with the story surrounding King Arthur will notice some changes that Tennyson adopted--probably the most obvious is the absence of Morgan La Fay, and that Mordred is only Arthur's nephew here, rather than the child of an incestuous union. At first, I thought that these changes would neuter the story, but in the end I decided they did not. Other characters take on different shades of personality--and mostly here I'm thinking of Sir Gawain, who, under Tennyson, is opportunistic and shallow. And the search for the Holy Grail is less an adventure in itself as it is an indication that Arthur failed to bring about the spiritual rebirth that he wanted. But I think these changes work well, considering that Tennyson was telling a different story than Mallory. Altogether I found it absorbing and moving. Five stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Hartman

    Tennyson's poetry is some of the most beautiful I've encountered (admittedly, not saying much, because my acquaintance with poetry is slight): his turns of phrase and the pictures he paints are wonderfully evocative, and there's an eerie mysticism in stories like "The Holy Grail." Even the fatalism -- as the idylls begin in spring and descend into a thoroughly gloomy autumn -- draws you in. Of course, since the unifying theme is the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere and the chaos it brings, Tennyson's poetry is some of the most beautiful I've encountered (admittedly, not saying much, because my acquaintance with poetry is slight): his turns of phrase and the pictures he paints are wonderfully evocative, and there's an eerie mysticism in stories like "The Holy Grail." Even the fatalism -- as the idylls begin in spring and descend into a thoroughly gloomy autumn -- draws you in. Of course, since the unifying theme is the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere and the chaos it brings, and since except for the first two stories the idylls are dark as all get out, it's also a depressing read. Also, as in many iterations of the Arthurian legend, there are the obvious spiritual parallels drawn between Arthur and Christ that always strike me as singularly suspect. "But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge, Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he walk'd, Larger than human on the frozen hills." - The Passing of Arthur, 349-351 "Then from dawn it seem'd there came, but faint As from beyond the limit of the world, Like the last echo born of a great cry, Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice Around a king returning from his wars." - The Passing of Arthur, 457-461

  6. 5 out of 5

    SarahC

    This book was every bit as beautiful as I could imagine. I had previously loved and read The Lady of Shalott. Idylls, however, is a testament to his love and knowledge of Arthurian legend. You'll likely walk away from this book with lots of favorite passages. And you might fall in love with the characters of this legend all over again. Lancelot - "...a dying fire of madness in his eyes" Percivale - "Had heaven appear'd so blue, nor earth so green, For all my blood danced in me, and I knew That I s This book was every bit as beautiful as I could imagine. I had previously loved and read The Lady of Shalott. Idylls, however, is a testament to his love and knowledge of Arthurian legend. You'll likely walk away from this book with lots of favorite passages. And you might fall in love with the characters of this legend all over again. Lancelot - "...a dying fire of madness in his eyes" Percivale - "Had heaven appear'd so blue, nor earth so green, For all my blood danced in me, and I knew That I should light up on the Holy Grail." Arthur - "...my Lancelot, thou in whom I have most joy and most affiance, for I know What thou hast been in battle by my side... " I love reading Malory's M d'A, but Tennyson's poetry really wraps heartand soul around his interpretation of Malory. These poems were also another living dedication to Tennyson's lost friend Arthur Hallam. Fans of the Arthur legend shouldn't put off reading Idylls any longer!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Free download available at [email protected] From BBC Radio 3 - Drama on 3: Alfred Lord Tennyson's epic poem The Idylls of the King, narrated by Tim Pigott-Smith and adapted by Michael Symmons Roberts.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David M.

    There are certain books, or authors, that don't hold up to modern political correctness. Mark Twain is one of them; Huckleberry Finn is constantly under threat to be banned from American schools. Robert E. Howard's protagonists routinely face villains who embody the worst of early twentieth century stereotypes. But Tennyson, in Idylls of the King comes under fire for his female characters in his series of epic poems concerning King Arthur and his valorous knights. What is not generally kept in m There are certain books, or authors, that don't hold up to modern political correctness. Mark Twain is one of them; Huckleberry Finn is constantly under threat to be banned from American schools. Robert E. Howard's protagonists routinely face villains who embody the worst of early twentieth century stereotypes. But Tennyson, in Idylls of the King comes under fire for his female characters in his series of epic poems concerning King Arthur and his valorous knights. What is not generally kept in mind, is that his source is a 15th century nobleman who was serving time in prison for many crimes, one of which was rape. Tennyson might not have had to rub it in, but that's the time where Arthur comes from, where women had two roles: Mary or Eve. If a woman wasn't a nun, then she was sinful. Another facet of this story that seems to be overlooked is that Arthur is not a likable character. When Arthur establishes the court of Camelot, he brings to himself men he believes shares his vision of women adoration, idyllic sporting, and the occasional quest. Some knights do hold to this life, but others, like Tristram and Guinevere, are human beings; it's unreasonable for a saint to hold all to his own morals. Arthur's reproach of Guinevere shows that he married her to win a crown, not to love her like the flesh and blood woman that she was. It's only when he's dying does he wonder that it might not be possible for all to live like him. Despite personal views on whether or not Tennyson hated women like no other person, this is an exceptional take on the Arthurian legend, and the Penguin addition contains interesting notes compiled from not just Tennyson, but the author's son as well. Highly reccomended!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Just finished this one for my Victorian Literature seminar. I will admit that the prospect of reading a 300+ page long poem was daunting, but well, well worth it. I have always admired Tennyson's work. This one is a bit different though. The language is not as resonant, but the imagery is spectacularly beautiful. Also, lots of lovely moments of universal truth within the story. They pop out of nowhere sometimes. The characters have a liquid, uncertain quality, bringing a whole lot of ambiguity t Just finished this one for my Victorian Literature seminar. I will admit that the prospect of reading a 300+ page long poem was daunting, but well, well worth it. I have always admired Tennyson's work. This one is a bit different though. The language is not as resonant, but the imagery is spectacularly beautiful. Also, lots of lovely moments of universal truth within the story. They pop out of nowhere sometimes. The characters have a liquid, uncertain quality, bringing a whole lot of ambiguity to this story that has been told so many times. The reader is asked over and over to suspend disbelief, not in order to understand, but to become immersed in the imaginary and the inevitable loss of boundaries. Over and over again we are fooled into believing the quickly dissipating fantasy of Tennyson's imagery. Why does Tennyson do this? I feel he did this in order to highlight the vain search for the truth of who we are and how others see us. We need to allow the mist of our emotions to yield and dissipate a little into order to see the truth of the reality of our lives. Beautifully composed, showing King Arthur in an entirely new light. 5 stars

  10. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Geraint & Enid still rock, although today their story would probably be featured on an episode of Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry? on the Investigation Discovery channel. Ain't no wimmens gonna put up with a control-freak like Sir Geraint. Just sayin'...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bryn Hammond

    As usual, I thought right up there the short story of Balin, who is to blame for his own tragedy ('My violences, my violences!'). Darker than I had expected and gutsier. I think I decided to read this at last after I saw a book on Tennyson's battle poetry. How he wrote 54 battle poems and had a genuine feel for the 'heroic ethos' of ancient fiction to which he was devoted. Fair enough, I thought. Tried a couple of short ones: his Boadicea is as bloody as she came, and I throbbed to 'The Revenge: As usual, I thought right up there the short story of Balin, who is to blame for his own tragedy ('My violences, my violences!'). Darker than I had expected and gutsier. I think I decided to read this at last after I saw a book on Tennyson's battle poetry. How he wrote 54 battle poems and had a genuine feel for the 'heroic ethos' of ancient fiction to which he was devoted. Fair enough, I thought. Tried a couple of short ones: his Boadicea is as bloody as she came, and I throbbed to 'The Revenge: a Ballad of the Fleet'. I even felt the tribute in his Ode on Wellington. I think he's a gorgeous poet, on the whole, although I'd make cuts. The guy can write. Arthur is his hero, and not Lancelot. This isn't the courtly love version, but the version where a self-indulgent love corrupts a heroic kingdom. Arthur's certainly a fighting king against pagans. Give him a pagan, he can let loose without qualms and soar with the sword. The comedy can be faux-medieval -- I mean you think of those silly films in tights, but perhaps comedy wasn't his forte. I expect tragedy is, and melancholy. Again, I'll have Balin, ten pages of him, gut-wrenchingly tragic and very darkly done. But I'd say that about Malory's Balin. Which proves to me Tennyson was awake to the old authentic stuff, though he's often condemned for Victorian.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rima

    Crying. Crying again? How many times have I read the death of King Arthur in several retellings and yet his final moments still cause my heart to cry out in despair? Guinevere and Lancelot's exposed affair, the fall of the Round Table, Mordred's betrayal...it all comes crumbling down. Loved the way Tennyson evolved the legend but at the same time kept the 12th century atmosphere intact.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Goodreads ate my first review so eventually (maybe) something will be fit in here. I wish all the poems were written in this style. (h/t to MookBarks)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tennyson was etched into my memory as a famouse classic from an early age thanks to the card game, "Authors." So now, sixty years later, I finally got around to seeing what the story was all about. The final nudge to read it came from a book group so I had the pleasure of discussing the book with others. So what did I learn? It's the story of King Arthur in blank verse and iambic pentameter, about a hundred pages worth. It's divided into twelve different stories Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tennyson was etched into my memory as a famouse classic from an early age thanks to the card game, "Authors." So now, sixty years later, I finally got around to seeing what the story was all about. The final nudge to read it came from a book group so I had the pleasure of discussing the book with others. So what did I learn? It's the story of King Arthur in blank verse and iambic pentameter, about a hundred pages worth. It's divided into twelve different stories that are sparingly related to each other. I anticipated encountering the story about Arthur taking the sword out of the stone. But that story wasn't in the book; I guess that story was written another author. The following are some unanswered questions. Is the Lady of the Lake a spirit, ghost or what? What is Merlin, a practitioner of magic, doing in a story that takes place in the Christian era? How could the story be so passionless, and at the same time have an adulterous affair between Lancelot and Guinevere? It seemed to me that Tennyson was taking himself a bit too seriously. He was sort of saying, "Look at me. I'm writing this magnificent poem about the beginnings of English civilization. He dedicates it to Queen Victoria in memory of the deceased Prince Albert. Can't get anymore important that that! The book is a chore to read, and I don't have the patience to truly appreciate it. I think it's a book that needs to read twice, once to read the story and a second time to appreciate the skillful word smithing and poem construction.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ben Loory

    it's beautiful; tennyson just has the best ear. the whole thing just demands to be read aloud, and not just read but almost sung. storywise it sags a bit in the middle but really pulls it out at the end. (it's not really a single epic, more a collection of linked poems (and a collection written over a period of 25+ years.)) my favorites were "Gareth and Lynette" (by far) and "Lancelot and Elaine." strangely i think the weakest is the one about the holy grail. Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and it's beautiful; tennyson just has the best ear. the whole thing just demands to be read aloud, and not just read but almost sung. storywise it sags a bit in the middle but really pulls it out at the end. (it's not really a single epic, more a collection of linked poems (and a collection written over a period of 25+ years.)) my favorites were "Gareth and Lynette" (by far) and "Lancelot and Elaine." strangely i think the weakest is the one about the holy grail. Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran, And, leaping down the ridges, lightly, plunged Among the bulrush beds, and clutch'd the sword, And strongly wheel'd and threw it. The great brand Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon, And flashing round and round, and whirl'd in an arch, Shot like a streamer of the northern morn, Seen where the moving isles of winter shock By night, with noises of the Northern Sea. So flash'd and fell the brand Excalibur: But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm Clothed in white samite, mystic wonderful, And caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him Three times, and drew him under in the mere. And lightly went the other to the King.

  16. 5 out of 5

    [Name Redacted]

    "A deathwhite mist slept over sand and sea: Whereof the chill, to him who breathed it, drew Down with his blood, till all his heart was cold With formless fear; and even on Arthur fell Confusion, since he saw not whom he fought. For friend and foe were shadows in the mist, And friend slew friend not knowing whom he slew; And some had visions out of golden youth, And some beheld the faces of old ghosts Look in upon the battle; and in the mist Was many a noble deed, many a base, And chance and craft and stre "A deathwhite mist slept over sand and sea: Whereof the chill, to him who breathed it, drew Down with his blood, till all his heart was cold With formless fear; and even on Arthur fell Confusion, since he saw not whom he fought. For friend and foe were shadows in the mist, And friend slew friend not knowing whom he slew; And some had visions out of golden youth, And some beheld the faces of old ghosts Look in upon the battle; and in the mist Was many a noble deed, many a base, And chance and craft and strength in single fights, And ever and anon with host to host Shocks, and the splintering spear, the hard mail hewn, Shield-breakings, and the clash of brands, the crash Of battleaxes on shattered helms, and shrieks After the Christ, of those who falling down Looked up for heaven, and only saw the mist; And shouts of heathen and the traitor knights, Oaths, insult, filth, and monstrous blasphemies, Sweat, writhings, anguish, labouring of the lungs In that close mist, and cryings for the light, Moans of the dying, and voices of the dead."

  17. 4 out of 5

    BookDigger

    I started out kinda dreading this novel because of a) it's thickness and b) its confusingly written self, but as I read it and (cough used some helpful "guides") I have grown to long to read it. It is exciting and interesting and sophisticated. As of now (I am in Balan and Balin) I like it. (November 14) I have now finished this novel and I enjoyed it. My favorite stories were Gareth and Lynette, The Marriage of Geraint, Geraint and Enid, Lancelot and Elaine, Pelleas and Ettare, and mm yes, those I started out kinda dreading this novel because of a) it's thickness and b) its confusingly written self, but as I read it and (cough used some helpful "guides") I have grown to long to read it. It is exciting and interesting and sophisticated. As of now (I am in Balan and Balin) I like it. (November 14) I have now finished this novel and I enjoyed it. My favorite stories were Gareth and Lynette, The Marriage of Geraint, Geraint and Enid, Lancelot and Elaine, Pelleas and Ettare, and mm yes, those were my favorites. The best was Lancelot and Elaine. I pictured everything crystal clear. I am glad that I took the time to truly comprehend everything and read it. It was a truly enriching novel. The main question/thought constantly running through my head as I read: How is something so talented that they sit down and write a lengthy novel of rhyming words that are stories within a central story. (it sounded better as I thought it...). But truly, it's astonishing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Roland Allnach

    A venture of epic poetry, this is Alfred Lord Tennyson's take on the Arthurian legends. An incredible read in its own right, but, when taken in relation to Malory, Tennyson's work highlights the passion, tragedy, and Romanticism that sometimes was left at a simmer in Malory's work. Tennyson's work is more 'fantastic' than Malory's, and his descriptions of Camelot are as awe inspiring for the reader as they are for the characters he follows. For those familiar with Malory, Tennyson does not paral A venture of epic poetry, this is Alfred Lord Tennyson's take on the Arthurian legends. An incredible read in its own right, but, when taken in relation to Malory, Tennyson's work highlights the passion, tragedy, and Romanticism that sometimes was left at a simmer in Malory's work. Tennyson's work is more 'fantastic' than Malory's, and his descriptions of Camelot are as awe inspiring for the reader as they are for the characters he follows. For those familiar with Malory, Tennyson does not parallel the tales Malory depicts but rather has his own interpretations to suit his goal in describing the tragic emotional arc of the fall of Camelot. Though I would not consider myself an expert in poetry, I have read quite a few epic pieces, and this is a monumental work with a humanistic focus, anchoring its place among the timeless classics, such as Homer's 'Iliad'. Whether you are a fan of Malory, or Arthurian legend in general, this should be part of your collection.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    This particular book is not an edition of Tennyson's work, Idylls of the King, as a whole. It's an abridged version, essentially, with selections from Tennyson's poetry contextualised by brief prose. The reason I have this edition is, of course, the illustrations included, those done by Gustave Doré. Many of them are really spectacular, capturing perfectly the mood of the pieces and scenes. Tennyson's poetry is, of course, powerful and problematic, but I'll review that in itself another time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I have more read "in" this than read it "through" at once. I found I loved Tennyson at a time when I had, quite a bit of time on my hands. Tennyson has a voice unlike any you'll find in contemporary writing. In this and other verse he conveys action and emotion. He seems obsessed with misunderstanding, rumor and false assumptions. Excellently expressed. Enjoy.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I'm not a huge fan of poetry, but I really liked how Tennyson interpreted the Arthurian legends! Super depressing, but really interesting. Now I just have to present on this tomorrow...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Zahra

    I'm not reading these in order because I want to read the good ones first :P Lancelot and Elaine I actually enjoyed this one even though I've never been a fan of Lancelot in any piece of literature of film whatsoever. He was alright and slightly less idiotic in this though. Elaine is strangely one of Tennyson's more spine-possessing female characters...or the only one. He was able to capture her spirit and yet still her naïveté at the same time. I'm quite sure it's downhill from her with the misog I'm not reading these in order because I want to read the good ones first :P Lancelot and Elaine I actually enjoyed this one even though I've never been a fan of Lancelot in any piece of literature of film whatsoever. He was alright and slightly less idiotic in this though. Elaine is strangely one of Tennyson's more spine-possessing female characters...or the only one. He was able to capture her spirit and yet still her naïveté at the same time. I'm quite sure it's downhill from her with the misogynist rhetoric but we'll see. The writing in this one is extremely reminiscent of The Lady of Shalott, lovely flow! Geraint and Enid Take a shot every time Enid is "meek" and "obedient" because you would rather have alcohol poisoning than read this mess masquerading as a poem. Gareth and Lynette "I fly no more: I allow thee for an hour. Lion and stoat have isled together, knave, In time of flood. Nay, furthermore, methinks Some ruth is mine for thee. Back wilt thou, fool? Lynette reminds me of Shakespeare's Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing), I'm surprised Tennyson wrote such a sharp female. Much prefer this version over Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table interpretation of this tale. Merlin and Vivien Enjoyed this one significantly less than the others so far but I still couldn't stop reading. This poem attacks you with the honesty of double standards for men and women in Victorian society and the question of which ideals each gender values over all else. I can see how the way in which it is presented can antagonize readers but it depends on how you choose to interpret Tennyson's views. I choose to give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amalie

    “If Malory's "Le Morte D'Arthur" is the skeleton of Arthurian literature then Tennyson's "Idylls of the King” is its flesh and blood”, I’ve seen this praising phrase in several places and it’s quite true. This is an epic poem containing twelve loosely connected stories/poems narrating the adventures and romances of the King Arthur and the knights of Camelot, so what’s not to love. Each section deals with story a knight or several knights of King Arthur's court. Their adventures and romances are “If Malory's "Le Morte D'Arthur" is the skeleton of Arthurian literature then Tennyson's "Idylls of the King” is its flesh and blood”, I’ve seen this praising phrase in several places and it’s quite true. This is an epic poem containing twelve loosely connected stories/poems narrating the adventures and romances of the King Arthur and the knights of Camelot, so what’s not to love. Each section deals with story a knight or several knights of King Arthur's court. Their adventures and romances are only remotely connected, but there is a back story to each because something is always happening behind the scenes. The first part deals with the coming of King Arthur and of the glory of his kingdom. The second part focuses on the gradual decline of his glorious era and the King's discovery of Lancelot and Guinevere's affair (Yes, sadly the fall of great Kingdoms always seem to be women’s faults, whether it is Guinevere, Isolde or dozens of others.) Still this is one of my favourite pieces of Tennyson. Main features of his poetry are simplicity, nobility, and order on which his works are built and all these are visible in this great epic. There is no doubt, after reading this, that his lyrics and romantic tales as “Idylls” shall be loved and admired as long as the English language and literature last.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I could give you a hundred literary reasons to read these poems. I could talk about how Arthur mirrors Tennyson's own time. I could point out that Tennyson is one of the greats. The real reason why I love this book, why I love these poems is simply the poem "Gareth and Lynette". There are times when a reader feels truly connected to an author. Not in the sense of the written word being read, but in the sense of learning something about the author that also applies to the reader. For instance, le I could give you a hundred literary reasons to read these poems. I could talk about how Arthur mirrors Tennyson's own time. I could point out that Tennyson is one of the greats. The real reason why I love this book, why I love these poems is simply the poem "Gareth and Lynette". There are times when a reader feels truly connected to an author. Not in the sense of the written word being read, but in the sense of learning something about the author that also applies to the reader. For instance, learning A. S. Byatt also likes Terry Pratchett. When I reached the end of "Gareth and Lynette", when I read Tennyson's ending of that poem, it was one those moments. The "author feels extactly like I do about this" moments. That connection that can exist between a dead (or even living) author and a reader where both minds are in sync. Tennyson's work might be romantic, it might be heroic, but the ending of "Gareth” is oh so modern. Any modern woman would love it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Kearney

    Aside from the work itself - which is enrapturing - one marvels at the capacity of the human mind to write such a thing!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    This technically should be classified as "didn't finish" because I read two of the poems. But they were so terribly hard to understand. Most old books take a little while to get the hang if reading, but this one just made no sense. With something like Shakespeare, I can pick up pretty quickly on what's going on, and if I can't, I get the general gist of what's happening. But in Idylls, I didn't know what I was reading. I would get to class and my teacher would start talking about it and I would This technically should be classified as "didn't finish" because I read two of the poems. But they were so terribly hard to understand. Most old books take a little while to get the hang if reading, but this one just made no sense. With something like Shakespeare, I can pick up pretty quickly on what's going on, and if I can't, I get the general gist of what's happening. But in Idylls, I didn't know what I was reading. I would get to class and my teacher would start talking about it and I would be sitting there, wondering if I even read the right assignment.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    The edition I own is not the complete work, nor is it in the original order. It features prose that details what each section entails, which was helpful in a sense but unnecessary in another. The illustrations were divine and the story itself was delightful, but this is not the edition one should read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I love this collection. Tennyson has a way with words that fits with Arthur's story perfectly!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Benji Cossa

    Beautiful. Late in the game for the Arthurian reader (19th C), but he surely keeps the flame alive. Really inspirational. If the Arthurian Vulgate Cycle were the blues, he'd be... someone awesome.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah McCauley

    Made up of twelve pieces, some of which are absolutely phenomenal and a couple of which are really dull.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.