The Romance of Tristram of Lyones & La Beale Isoude

The Romance of Tristram of Lyones & La Beale Isoude

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Publisher: [London] G. G. Harrap & company limited n.d.
Branch Call Number: 841.1
Characteristics: 157 p. illus. 25 cm.

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dennismmiller
Apr 14, 2018

The tragic story of the love between the gallant knight Tristram (or Tristan, or Tristen, or Tristrem) and the lovely lady Isoude (Isolde, Iseult) was the subject of some of the most beloved medieval romances, and was eventually drawn into the Arthurian mythos. As is often the case with these tales, the story was told in many different ways with many different details down through the centuries, including, in these latter days, a Wagner opera and multiple movies. The core tale involves a love potion that binds the main characters together in an unbreakable passion, despite her arranged marriage to Tristram's uncle, King Mark. Heroism, infidelity, jealousy, madness, and bloodshed ensue.

Acclaimed illustrator Evelyn Paul's 1913 edition of the romance is decorated not only with the expected pre-Raphaelite color plates, but numerous black and white pictures and further embellishments which together produce an effect less like illustration and more like illumination. To complete the conceit, throughout the text deliberate archaisms are used that, wit ye well, some will find enchanting and others cloying.

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