The History of the Kings of Britain

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Penguin Books, 1966 - Biography & Autobiography - 373 pages
10 Reviews
Completed in 1136, this classic chronicle traces the story of the realm from its supposed foundation by Brutus to the coming of the Saxons some two thousand years later. Vividly portraying legendary and semi-legendary figures such as Lear, Cymbeline, Merlin the magician, and the most famous of all British heroes, King Arthur, it is as much myth as it is history, and its veracity was questioned by other medieval writers. But Geoffrey of Monmouth's powerful evocation of illustrious men and deeds captured the imagination of subsequent generations, and his influence can be traced through the works of Malory, Shakespeare, Dryden, and Tennyson.

Lewis Thorpe's translation from the Latin brings us an accurate and enthralling version of Geoffrey's remarkable narrative. His introduction discusses in depth the aims of the author and his possible sources, and describes the impact of this work on British literature.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

An example of the murky boundary between history and romance in Plantagenet times. This is good entertainment, a racy history that would please the Plantagenet court. Modern research has disproved ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MaowangVater - LibraryThing

Geoffrey’s history is too much chronology and too little history. He’s left the story out of the history—ironically because so many stories were generated by his chronicle of stick figures squabbling ... Read full review

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About the author (1966)

Geoffrey of Monmouth was a Welsh cleric and British historiographer who lived during the twelfth century. He is best known for his chronicle The History of the Kings of Britain, which, though now considered historically unreliable, was widely popular in its day and is cited as an important work of national myth.

Lewis Thorpe was professor of French at Nottingham University from 1958 to 1977 and president of the British Branch of the International Arthurian Society. He published many books and articles on Arthur, both on the French and English traditions. He died in 1977.

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