The average rating for Norse Romance I: The Tristan Legend, Vol. 1 based on 2 reviews is 5 stars.
|Review # 1 was written on 2015-06-14 00:00:00|
I have read several English versions of the Tristan/Tristram legend, but it always seemed to underwhelm me. Too bad, because it is one of the great romance stories of the Middle Ages. So, after coming across this English rendering of an Old Norse version, I was happy to give it another go. I was not disappointed. It is a prose version of a French original, and it reads beautifully. Whatever I missed before from this story I noticed here. This romance tells of a doomed love affair between a knight and a married queen after they accidentally drink a love potion. The lovers insist on having a clandestine affair under the king's nose, but because of his love for both Isolde and for Tristan, the king vacillates between taking revenge on them and forgiving them. We have this Norse version to thank because it preserves for us the version by its author Thomas of Britain, whose original only survives in fragments. This volume also has a shorter version of Tristan, which may not be as good, but it's supposed to be a parody. (Although I would not have known that if I had not read it in the introduction.) There is even a short poem about the legend, as well as two lays by Marie de France: one has to do with Tristan, the other, Lanval, is a separate story about an Arthurian knight who falls in love with a fairy woman. With all of this stuff in one volume, I see this book as a bit of buried treasure for enthusiasts of medieval romance.
|Review # 2 was written on 2011-09-10 00:00:00|
A superb text and English translation of the five Norse adaptions of the Tristan romances. Includes the Tristrams saga ok Isöndar, Geitarlauf, Janual, Tristram Kvædi and the Saga af Tristram ok Ísodd. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
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