Talk:Thomas Malory

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Needs improvement[edit]

Much is wrong here. Will try to fix later.

I've fixed a chunk of it. The problem was that it depended on a source from the 1880s (!). Modern biographies (i.e., since 1896) have pinpointed the actual historical person believed to be him. The opening paragraph's from this 1911 encyclopedia article explain [1]:
Previous to the publication of Professor Kittredges monograph, Who was Sir Thomas Malory? [Mrwojo: pub. 1896] the identity of this writer remained an unsolved problem. Mr. Sidney Lee, in the Dictionary of National Biography, was compelled to admit that he could find no one of that name fulfilling the necessary conditions. Of direct evidence we have very little; in the concluding passage of the book the author asks the prayers of the reader for Syr Thomas Maleore knyght, and states that the book was ended the ix. yere of the reygne of Kyng Edward the fourth. Caxton, in his preface, says that he printed the book after a copye unto me delivered whyche copye Syr Thomas Malorye dyd take oute of certeyn bookes of frensshe and reduced it in to Englysshe ; in his colophon he repeats this statement, adding that he himself is responsible for the division of the work into books and chapters, and that it was printed in 1485. It will be noted that Caxton does not say that he received the book from Malory, only that he had received a copy made by Malory; from this Professor Kittredge draws the conclusion that the compiler was no longer living. The problem then is to find a Thomas Malory who was (a) a knight, (b) alive in the ninth year of King Edward IV. (Mar. 4, 1469Mar. 3, 1470), and (c) who was, no longer living in July (or June) 1485.
All these conditions Professor Kittredge finds fulfilled in the life of Sir Thomas Malory, knight, of Newbold Revell (or Fenny Newbold), M.P. for Warwickshire ~n. 1445. The date of Sir Thomass birth is uncertain, but he succeeded his father, Sir John, in 1433 or 1434. Previously to this he had served in France, in the retinue of the earl of Warwick, most probably during the time that that nobleman held the office of captain of Calais. It seems probable that he is also to be identified with a Thomas Malone, miles, who in 1468 was, on account of the part played by him in the Wars of the Roses, excluded with several others from the operation of a pardon issued by Edward IV. As, however, on the death of Sir Thomas on the 14th of March 1470, there was no difficulty as to inheritance, his estates passing to his grandson, he must, if this identification be correct, have come under the general amnesty of 1469. It will be seen, therefore, that so far as it is in our power to state the question this Sir Thomas Malory fulfils all the necessary conditions.
The dates rule out the "c. 1430" birth originally mentioned. It's likely the bit about him possibly being a priest could also be axed. Once the old bits are excised or rewritten, I think the "from an 1880s encyclopedia" warning could go. Also note his death date is listed as 14 March 1470; 25 March was the traditional start of the new year in Britain until the 18th century, so the 1471 year is correct in modern calendars. --Mrwojo 16:50, 2 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Citation needed[edit]

Malory calling himself a "servant of Jesu" does not seem like very compelling evidence that he could have been a priest; it was a common way to speak of oneself at the time, and basically just identifies him as a Christian. If we cannot cite this as a reputable scholar's opinion, it probably is not worth the speculation here. --BDD 18:19, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Kudos to whoever added the reference. I'm very reluctant to add those tags, so I'm glad such an equitable goal was reached. --BDD 05:48, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Complete 1911 EB article[edit]

I thought it might be helpful to have the complete 1911 article accessible somewhere.

MALORY, SIR THOMAS, translator and compiler of the famous English classic, the Morte dArthur. Previous to the publication of Professor Kittredges monograph, Who was Sir Thomas Malory? the identity of this writer remained an unsolved problem. Mr. Sidney Lee, in the Dictionary of National Biography, was compelled to admit that he could find no one of that name fulfilling the necessary conditions. Of direct evidence we have very little; in the concluding passage of the book the author asks the prayers of the reader for Syr Thomas Maleore knyght, and states that the book was ended the ix. yere of the reygne of Kyng Edward the fourth. Caxton, in his preface, says that he printed the book after a copye unto me delivered whyche copye Syr Thomas Malorye dyd take oute of certeyn bookes of frensshe and reduced it in to Englysshe ; in his colophon he repeats this statement, adding that he himself is responsible for the division of the work into books and chapters, and that it was printed in 1485. It will be noted that Caxton does not say that he received the book from Malory, only that he had received a copy made by Malory; from this Professor Kittredge draws the conclusion that the compiler was no longer living. The problem then is to find a Thomas Malory who was (a) a knight, (b) alive in the ninth year of King Edward IV. (Mar. 4, 1469-Mar. 3, 1470), and (c) who was, no longer living in July (or June) 1485.

All these conditions Professor Kittredge finds fulfilled in the life of Sir Thomas Malory, knight, of Newbold Revell (or Fenny Newbold), M.P. for Warwickshire in 1445. The date of Sir Thomas's birth is uncertain, but he succeeded his father, Sir John, in 1433 or 1434. Previously to this he had served in France, in the retinue of the earl of Warwick, most probably during the time that that nobleman held the office of captain of Calais. It seems probable that he is also to be identified with a Thomas Malone, miles, who in 1468 was, on account of the part played by him in the Wars of the Roses, excluded with several others from the operation of a pardon issued by Edward IV. As, however, on the death of Sir Thomas on the 14th of March 1470, there was no difficulty as to inheritance, his estates passing to his grandson, he must, if this identification be correct, have come under the general amnesty of 1469. It will be seen, therefore, that so far as it is in our power to state the question this Sir Thomas Malory fulfils all the necessary conditions.

It is interesting to note that the career of the earl of Warwick in France was maFked by certain picturesque and chivalric features which might well impress the imagination of a young retainer. John Rous, in his Life of Richard Earl of Warwick, tells us that at a certain tourney held near Calais at Christmastide, Earl Richard appeared three days running in different armour, overthrowing his adversary on each occasionan exploit obviously imitated from the chivalric romances of the period.

The work with which Malorys name is connected is an abridged compilation of the great body of Arthurian romance in its latest form. The Merlin (Vulgate and Suite), Tristan, Lancelot, Queste and Mort Anus are all represented, the only branch omitted is that dealing with the early history of the Grail the Joseph of Arimathea and Grand S. Graal. Thanks mainly to the labors of Dr Oskar Sommer, we can now assign thi majority of the books to their separate sources, although certair stories, such as the adventures of Sir Gareth under the pseudonym of Beaumains, the handling of Sir Urre of Hungary, and th details of the abduction of Guenevere by Meleagaunt, still remain unidentified. But we do not yet know whether Malory himself was responsible for this selection, or whether be found it ready to hand in a MS., the Frensshe Booke to which he often refers. To make such a compilation at first hand, considering the extent of the ground covered, would involve an enormous amount of study and selection, and the access to a very large libraryconditions which scarcely seem to fit in with the social position and activities of Sir Thomas. On the other hand it is undeniable that the medieval copyists, at the instance of their patrons, did make compilations from the various romances within their reach, such as e.g. the enormous codex 112 (fonds Franc.) of the Bibliothque Nationale, which includes large sections of the Tristan, the Lancelot, and the Merlin Suite. Taking into consideration alike what Malory retains and what he omits, it seems most probable that he was in possession, not of complete copies of the romances, but of one or more volumes of compilations from these sources.

From the point of view of matter it must be admitted that the Monte d Arthur does not represent the Arthurian cycle at its best, but rather in the period of its decadence; nor does Malory in any way endeavour to overcome the difficulties caused by the juxtaposition of a number of independent (and often contradictory) versions. This is especially noticeable in his treatment of Gawain; in the section derived from the Lancelot and Mort Artus he is a good and valiant knight, a ful noble knyghte as ever was borne1 in those derived from the Tristan and the Queste, he is treacherous, dissolute, and a murderer of good knights.

The great charm of Malorys work lies in his style; stately, earnest and dignified, it has lent to the relations between Lancelot and Guenevere a character of truth and vitality in which the French original is wholly lacking. Malory achieved a remarkable feathe took the Arthurian story in its worst and weakest form and he imparted to it a moral force and elevation which the cycle, even in its earlier and finer stage, had, save in the unique case of Von Eschenbachs Parzival, never possessed. While genuine lovers of the Arthurian cycle must regret that the romances should only be known to the great majority of English readers through the versions of Malory and Tennyson, it isimpossible to withholdfrom the Monte dArt hut the admiration due to an imperishable monument of English language and literature.

See Who was Sir Thomas Malory? C. L. Kittredge (Harvard Studies and Notes, vol. v., 1896); Monte dArthur, ed. by Dr Oskar Sommer (an exact reproduction of the original text in 2 vols.)

vol. iii. a study on The Sources of Malory. The sections on Lancelot and Queste are unfortunately very inadequate; for these cf. The Legend of Sir Lancelot, Grimm Library, vol. xii. (J.L.W.)--FeanorStar7 00:26, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Birth[edit]

"Sir Thomas Malory (c.1399 – March 14, 1471)" is followed shortly after by "He was probably born sometime around 1405" -- let's be consistent! -Phoenixrod 19:49, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I changed it to 1405, I think that's the conventional suggestion.--Cúchullain t/c 19:53, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! I didn't know enough to change factual information. -Phoenixrod 20:12, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Criminal?[edit]

The article states that he was never actually convicted of any of the charges against him. If so, should he be included in the category British criminals. Or should he be included in a more specific category e.g. Category:English rapists? PatGallacher (talk) 17:58, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

References[edit]

I am a stupid editor who can type and can't program for my life. Having just added quite an amount of info on the author. I found out that I didn't have the patience to cite it, because I probably forgot one closing tag which screwed up everything. Finding myself of less intelligence, than the last time I edited an articel (having successfully cited references) I added mine to the list. My reference is the John Matthews edited edition newly added to the references, so if some one knows how to reference better than I do, thank you. That's my cry of desperation, and when people start yelling at me over all the things I did wrong, I'll be here. --15lsoucy salve.opus.nomen 02:57, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

MP?[edit]

There is no mention of a William Mallory or Malory as MP on the Cambridgeshire or Cambridge constituency pages in Wikipedia, nor any reference in the published volumes of History of Parliament Online (admittedly incomplete). He has an oft-confused namesake who was MP for Leicestershire. Anyone know otherwise, or is this ripe for removal? Sjwells53 (talk) 10:17, 11 December 2013 (UTC)