Thomas Malory

Thomas Malory

English author who wrote 'Le Morte d'Arthur'
Country: Bangladesh

  1. Biography of Thomas Malory
  2. Early Life and Imprisonment
  3. Works
  4. Style and Language
  5. Rediscovery

Biography of Thomas Malory

Thomas Malory was an English author who is best known for his work "Le Morte Darthur", also known as "The Death of Arthur". He was a prose writer and the author of eight Arthurian romances, which were compiled into a collection that he titled "The Book of King Arthur and His Noble Knights of the Round Table". The collection was published in 1485 by William Caxton in a single volume under the title "Le Morte Darthur".

Early Life and Imprisonment

Historians have identified Malory as a knight from Newbold Revel in Warwickshire, who was born in the early 15th century. For the last twenty years of his life, with few interruptions, he spent his time in prison due to a series of charges. He belonged to an old Warwickshire family and in 1444 or 1445 represented his county in Parliament. In the autumn of 1462, he accompanied the Earl of Warwick and Edward IV in a military campaign in Northumberland, and when Warwick switched sides to the Lancastrians, Malory followed suit. In 1468, Malory was twice excluded from the list of Lancastrians to whom Edward granted amnesty. He died on March 14, 1471, and was buried in the Greyfriars Church in London. Most of Malory's works, if not all, were written in prison.


Malory's works were either compiled by the author himself or one of his scribes in the following order: "The Tale of King Arthur" (books 1-4 according to Caxton's edition), "The Tale of King Arthur and Emperor Lucius" (book 5), "The Noble Tale of Sir Lancelot" (book 6), "The Book of Sir Gareth" (book 7), "The Book of Sir Tristram" (books 7-12), "The Tale of the Sangreal, or The Quest of the Holy Grail" (books 12-17), "The Book of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere" (books 18-19), "The Death of Arthur" (books 20-21). Only one of them - "The Tale of King Arthur and Emperor Lucius" - is entirely based on an English source (a 14th-century English poem known as "Alliterative Morte Arthure"). For the rest, Malory used French chivalric romances from the 13th century, including "Merlin" and one of its continuations, the romance of "Tristan", as well as some parts of "Lancelot". Malory interpreted the plots of chivalric adventures realistically, aiming to give them an English touch, and under his pen, a series of fantastic, mostly French narratives turned into a purely English epic.

Style and Language

Malory's prose combines elements of epic rhetoric with the liveliness of the English language. It is described as "noble and courageous" in tone, natural in structure, and free from dry traditional rhetorical phrases and elaborate archaic syntax, even though in some places, it seems to literally reproduce the source. Malory's language is marked by the same directness and transparency as the composition of his retellings of the most intricate adventures and exploits of King Arthur's knights.


Until the 1930s, Malory's works were known only through the first printed edition by Caxton. In 1934, a manuscript from the 15th century containing Malory's texts was discovered in the Scientific Library of Winchester College, thanks to which critical editions became possible.