Friday, June 02, 2006

Melora My Love

I just got a copy of "The Book of Arthur" by John Matthews. Matthews is one of the best of the popular Arthurian scholars and he has collected a group of tales relatively unknown to modern readers. Many were known by Malory, who pared down a larger collection of known tales to create his reknowned Morte D'Arthur. Matthews has gone back to that earlier collection and selected some of the tales he feels Malory would have put in Morte D'Arthur II. Matthews has also looked farther afield and found some really wonderful tales from Ireland and from the centuries after Malory. Altogether this book is a wonderful expansion to the better known literature for any Arthuriana buff.

Enough of Arthur. The tale that got me going is "The Story of Malora and Orlando." In this Celtic romance from the 17th century, we meet Malora, the daughter of King Arthur. She and Orlando fall in love, but it's Orlando who gets kidnapped and Malora who must do the rescuing. And a fine job she does of it as well. Maybe it's the name "Orlando" but I kept seeing Kiera Knightly as Malora. Anyway, I was really struck by how easily Malora was able to take on the masculine hero role in this romance from several centuries ago. It's a good read, I highly recommend it and the collection as a whole.

1 comment:

Evn said...

You might enjoy "Celtic Saints and the Glastonbury Zodiac" by Mary Caine (Capall Bann Publishing). She gets into some of the earlier Arthurian legends and figures... and then kind of abandons them. But it's still a good read.