Due to the content transfer, this post is actually weeks in the making compared to the last post in the Malory Journal. Originally, over on my first research blog, I wrote the first two posts over a month ago and have only now, on this blog, gotten around to the third piece. Since then, I have been a busy beaver.
I am now on book eight. Anyone who has read Le Morte Darthur— unabridged– knows that this is the infamous book of “Syr Tyrstrams De Lyones”. I say “infamous” because this book is at least four or five times as long as any other book. Seriously, I can collect all of the pages in this book alone and it constitutes close to a fourth or more of all of the content in the entirety of LMD (or it feels that way, at least).
So, my plan for reading it is to take it slowly.
Today, I intend on reading a large chunk just to give myself some space for future readings. Tomorrow, and every day after until it is finished, I plan on reading around ten pages. Doing so should enable me to finish this eighth book just in time for my return to campus for the new school year.
So far in my reading of LMD, I have grown to appreciate Malory in a slightly masochistic kind of way.
On the one hand, I can aptly see his skill in rendering the Arthurian legend into a tale rife with adaptive density. Truly, as I read each chapter/book, I can see how easy it would be to turn each book into a television series or a film a la Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings.
But… on the other hand, his writing style is so repetitive and a not insubstantial amount of the drama and familial conflict you have to imagine more or less for yourself. If you are familiar with narrative and genre, then you can imagine how to adapt Malory into a modern story, gritty or lighthearted. But that is still a weakness, that the drama is there but you really need to understand knightly Chivalry into order to understand why [so and so] is bad when [somebody] does [some seemingly innocuous thing]. If you don’t have the basics of knightly conduct down or don’t bother to at least glance at the copious scholarly notes, assuming you are reading an edition like mine which uses Malory’s original spelling, then you are going to have a bad time.
Still, despite everything, I am making progress and enjoying myself. That being said, I am also pacing myself. If I had to read Malory at an accelerated pace as part of a class, then I would likely find myself less inclined to speak favorably of him. Regardless, LMD remains a unique read and I am looking forward to tackling this behemoth of a book.