Retail pak HighBridge Audio 1997
CS ISBN 156511227X $34.95 Six cassettes
According to tradition, a rogue knight of the fifteenth century collated all the legends and songs surrounding the pre-Christian Welsh chieftain Arthur into a fascinating, rambling prose narrative. Since then it has inspired numerous artists while becoming the principal source for today's notions of chivalry and the Knights of the Round Table. Yet, for modern Americans, it's as difficult to hear as to read, despite all efforts by the brilliant Derek Jacobi in this judicious abridgment. The diction, somewhere between the English of Chaucer and Shakespeare, has been tastefully edited for comprehension, but the values and literary conventions have not. If anyone can bring such fare to life, Jacobi can--and does! Through him, we hear what once inspired the fantasies of young boys. All the psychological and moral complexities that are the author's chief concern are present, as well as the vigor and sonority of the writing. Further, Jacobi's beautiful oral expression smooths out the unevenness of the original and gives more life to the characters than Malory did. Jacobi brings out the full tragedy of Arthur's death and the dissolution of the Camelot ideal. Malory as interpreted by Jacobi is well worth the listen. Y.R. ©AudioFile, Portland, Maine [Published: MAY 98]
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