Read Tristan and Iseult by Rosemary Sutcliff Free Online
Book Title: Tristan and Iseult|
The author of the book: Rosemary Sutcliff
Edition: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Date of issue: September 1st 1991
ISBN 13: 9780374479824
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2361 times
Reader ratings: 3.6
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 2.68 MB
Read full description of the books:
I started writing a review of this retelling of the sad, beautiful story of Tristan and Iseult. And then the review turned into my own retelling. And then it turned into something that I didn't feel quite up to sharing with the world. And so.
If you need the bare outlines of the story, here it is. The story of King Marc, Tristan and Iseult underpins that of Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. Sutcliff's retelling is romantic, stately, heartbreaking, classical, shot through with the occasional dart of humour, and often startlingly sexy for a book aimed at children.
And beyond, Iseult sat among the piled cushions, combing her hair that was red as hot copper in the smoky torchlight.
She said, “Put out that torch. It has served to guide you to me, and the moon is better for keeping secrets.” And laid aside her silver comb and held out her arms to him.
There is also an emotional nuance that surprises me - a wisdom about the complicated ways we love:
For Tristan also, the months and the years went by. He had thrust Iseult of Cornwall from his life; and he had found a kind of peace that was sometimes almost happiness with Iseult White-hands. He had never told her of the other Iseult, but she had always guess the meaning of the woman’s ring that hung round his neck, and because she loved him she knew the rest without being told, and knew when he turned from the owner of the ring, and did all she could to heal the hurt, and yet could not help being glad that the hurt was there for her healing.
In her introduction, Sutcliff writes that she attempted to strip the story back to some of its original Celtic fierceness and darkness, and in doing so, made one very significant change:
In all the versions that we know, Tristan and Iseult fall in love because they accidentally drink together a love potion which was meant for Iseult and her husband, King Marc, on their wedding night. Now the story of Tristan and Iseult is Diarmid and Grania, and Deirdre and the Sons of Usna, and in neither of them is there any suggestion of a love potion. I am sure in my own mind that the medieval storytellers added it to make an excuse for Tristan and Iseult for being in love with each other when Iseult was married to somebody else. And for me, this turns something that was real and living and part of themselves into something artificial, the result of drinking a sort of magic drug.
So I have left out the love potion.
Because everyone else who has retold the tale in the past eight hundred years has kept it in, it is only fair to tell you this. I can only tell the story in the way which feels right to me in my own heart of hearts.
The love potion makes Tristan and Iseult characters; pawns to the narrative, helpless to their fates. Without the potion, they are human: loving and flawed, seeking happiness in one another, seeking honour in the world, wanting not to hurt anyone, stumbling and falling - falling together, falling apart - and losing it all.
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Read information about the authorRosemary Sutcliff was a British novelist, best known as a writer of highly acclaimed historical fiction. Although primarily a children's author, the quality and depth of her writing also appeals to adults, she herself once commenting that she wrote "for children of all ages from nine to ninety."
Born in West Clandon, Surrey, Sutcliff spent her early youth in Malta and other naval bases where her father was stationed as a naval officer. She contracted Still's Disease when she was very young and was confined to a wheelchair for most of her life. Due to her chronic sickness, she spent the majority of her time with her mother, a tireless storyteller, from whom she learned many of the Celtic and Saxon legends that she would later expand into works of historical fiction. Her early schooling being continually interrupted by moving house and her disabling condition, Sutcliff didn't learn to read until she was nine, and left school at fourteen to enter the Bideford Art School, which she attended for three years, graduating from the General Art Course. She then worked as a painter of miniatures.
Rosemary Sutcliff began her career as a writer in 1950 with The Chronicles of Robin Hood. She found her voice when she wrote The Eagle of the Ninth in 1954. In 1959, she won the Carnegie Medal for The Lantern Bearers and was runner-up in 1972 with Tristan and Iseult. In 1974 she was highly commended for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Her The Mark of the Horse Lord won the first Phoenix Award in 1985.
Sutcliff lived for many years in Walberton near Arundel, Sussex. In 1975 she was appointed OBE for services to Children's Literature and promoted to CBE in 1992. She wrote incessantly throughout her life, and was still writing on the morning of her death. She never married.
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