Malory's Book of Arms: The Narrative of Combat in le Morte Darthur

Series: Arthurian Studies (v.39)

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This study of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur centres on its main narrative interest and expressive medium, armed combat. In the analysis of the discourse of fighting, some repeated descriptive preoccupations -to do with name, vision, blood, emotion and gesture - are examined as 'needs of meaning' with relevance for the whole text, and related to political, religious, genealogical, sexual and medical views of Malory's period. Andrew Lynch's exploration of the powerof 'name' as public reputation in the Mortechallenges the usual reading of Malory's adventures, and he goes on to survey Malory reception and the attempts of earlier critics to moralise the fights in terms he sees as inappropriate. His discussion of the narrative vision and thematics of combat covers the whole text, but places special emphasis on the stories of knight-errantry, and particularly the often neglected Book of Sir Tristram.ANDREW LYNCHis Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Western Australia.