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Good Overview of the Arthurian Legend, with some flaws
on October 4, 2003
This is a useful anthology. If you want to learn some basics about the Arthurian legend, or if you want to teach a class on it, this is the best book to buy. It's fairly comprehensive, with the exception noted below, and the translations are readable, though seldom the best available. It's nice to see some of the unusual stories like "The Saga of the Mantle" and "The Rise of Gawain."
The collection's major flaw is its omission of any Grail text. I have to supplement this book with Nigel Bryant's translation of Robert de Boron (Merlin and the Grail, from Boydell and Brewer). We could certainly do without all the Tristan and Isolde texts (which are only marginally Arthurian anyway). The other flaw, though less grave, is the paucity of the selection from Malory. He really deserves greater prominence than he gets in this anthology, and the selection without proper context isn't very compelling.