- The break with the Old English literary tradition appears perhaps most strikingly in what became the most popular genre in medieval England: the romance.
- Having originated in France in the 1100s, most romance describe the adventures of legendary knights and celebrate a chivalric code that emphasizes courtly love - in which a man's love for one idealized woman who makes him a better person.
- Around King Arthur developed a vast oral literature, which picked up items from myth, folklore, and history as it grew.
- By the time the stories were written down, truth and fiction had been forever combined.
- In the literature of Medieval Europe, King Arthur and his Knights came to represent the ideals of chivalry, with its devotion to strength, loyalty, generosity, and courtesy.
- Le Morte de Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory was possibly the finest single work of Middle English prose.
THE DEATH OF ARTHUR
- In spite of its title, Le Morte d'Arthur tells the story of Arthur's life as well as his death. In the story, the king creates the brotherhood of the Round Table, an assembly of Knights who pledge loyalty to Arthur and to the code of chivalry.
SIR THOMAS MALORY
- He was a hot-tempered member of Parliament in 1445.
- He spent much of his later life in jail.
- A long list of crimes was attributed to him, from extortion and attempted murder to cattle rustling.
- He was in jail when he composed Le Morte d'Arthur.
- He created the first prose masterpiece in English and the first account of the legend of King Arthur in modern English prose.
- He died in jail. About 14 years after his death, his manuscript was published by William Caxton, the man who introduced the printing press in England.