King Arthur & the Matter of Britain
History & Archaeology ·
Welsh Bards ·
Tristan & Iseult ·
Elaine of Astolat
tale of Tristan and Iseult originated outside
of the cycle of stories of King Arthur and his circle of knights,
but two became intertwined early on.
The story of how Tristan, nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, and Iseult,
the King's Irish bride, unknowingly drink of a love
potion and are thereby doomed has remained fixed in its essentials
since the earliest tales, but the motivations and characterizations
of the various actors are malleable. King Mark, in particular,
devolved over time from a heartbroken husband to a cowardly murderer.
It is commonly believed that shadowy historical figures lie behind
the Tristan story: "Drustanus son of Cunomorus," recorded on the
famous "Tristan Stone," a grave-marker inscribed in sixth-century Latin
found near Fowey in Cornwall, and a King "Marcus" also called "Cunomorus,"
recorded in a ninth-century Life of the Breton saint Paul Aurelian.
Sir Tristan & La Belle Iseult
and Isolt, a survey with links to texts, including poems
by Tennyson, Swinburne, and William Morris,
at the Camelot Project.
King of Cornwall, also at the Camelot Project, summarizes
the historical sources.
Tristrem, the Middle English poem, edited with an extensive
introduction to the origins of the tale by Alan Lupack at TEAMS.
a version of the tale in a lai of Marie de France, translated by
Judith P. Shoaf. [PDF]
légende du Roi Marc'h aux oreilles de cheval (The Legend of
King Mark with the Horse's Ears), a Breton folktale featuring Tristan and
King Mark (in French).
Isolt in Modern Literature in English, a bibilography by Alan
Lupack at the Camelot Project.
a synopsis of Richard Wagner's opera, from Metropolitan Opera.
An Investigation into the Symbolism of Heraldry in the Legend of Tristram and Isoud by
The Story of the Champions of the Round Table
(1905) tells the stories of Sir Lancelot, Sir Tristram and Sir Percival. The text and the complete
illustrations, at the Internet Sacred Text Archive's
English Folklore collection.
Cornwall and the West
Dumnonia, part of
Celtic Britain: Southern Britain's Lost Kingdoms, by Peter L. Kessler. New URLs.
Kingdoms of the West-Country,
part of Early British Kingdoms,
includes biographies of the Kings of Dumnonia, Cerniw and Lyonesse;
the ancestry of one of the earliest Kings, Conan Meriadoc; and the probable pedigree of the Kings of Glastenning.
Cornwall by Bruce Jewell.
an Yeth Kernewek: The History of the Cornish Language
by David Annear.
Notes on the Illustrations ·
28 November 2008