The Effects of Sir Thomas Malory’s Life and Culture on the Arthurian Legends

The Effects of Sir Thomas Malory’s Life and Culture on the Arthurian Legends

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The Effects of Sir Thomas Malory’s Life and Culture on the Arthurian Legends


In many cases, authors write books in order to comment on the culture they live in. In addition, the personal life experiences of the author are also expressed in the work. In the case of the Arthurian Legends, the major contributor was Sir Thomas Malory, who lived from 1405 to 1471 (Abrams, 420). The first section of this paper will examine why Sir Thomas Malory should be considered the greatest contributor to the Arthurian Legends. The second section of this paper will examine many themes expressed in Malory’s work, Morte Darthur, such as courtly love, brotherly love, chivalry, magic, and resolution, showing how the culture and personal life of Sir Thomas Malory helped shape his commitment to translating and writing the legends of King Arthur. The final section of this paper will show how, even in the last century, writers have used personal life experiences and elements of the culture around them to create their works.

One of the most taxing aspects of dealing with the Arthurian Legends is identifying the major contributors. Arthurian legends were in existence long before the lifetime of Sir Thomas Malory most notably Geoffry of Monmouth’s Historia Regina Britannia, which was written between 1136-1139. The fact that Arthurian legends were in existence several hundred years before Malory’s life makes it essential to show why the study of his life and culture are important. The major reason why the study of the life
and culture of Sir Thomas Malory should be considered important is due to the fact that his work (Morte Darthur) was the first complete version of Arthurian legends ever produced in English. Another reason it is important t...


... middle of paper ...


... that surrounded him. The final section of the paper deals with the idea that, even in our culture, writers are able to take their personal experiences and extend them to represent the culture as a whole. All of these sections are essential for understanding Morte Darthur, Sir Thomas Malory, and the elements he used from his personal experience and the culture around him to translate and write many Arthurian legends.

Works Cited

Abrams, M.H. Gen. Ed., Greenblatt, Stephen. Ass. Gen. Ed. The
Norton Anthology of English Literature 7th Ed. Vol. 1.
New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 2000.

Ackerman, Robert W. “Sir Thomas Malory”. World Book Encyclopedia
Vol. 13. Chicago: World Book Inc., 1989.

Mckay, John P. Ed., Hill, Bennett D. Ed., Buckler, John Ed., A
History of Western Society Since 1300, 6th Edition.
New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.

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