Idylls of the King
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Idylls of the King (1859-1885) is a cycle of narrative poems by British poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Written while Tennyson was serving as Poet Laureate, Idylls of the King reworks the medieval Arthurian legend in blank verse and with an elegiac tone. Based on Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and the early British Mabinogion manuscripts, Tennyson’s work connects an ancient tradition to the reign and ideals of Queen Victoria.
“The Coming of Arthur” traces Arthur’s rise to power, narrating his role in the siege of Cameliard and the liberation of Leodogran’s kingdom. Following their victory, Arthur marries Guinevere, Leodogran’s daughter, who is brought to Camelot by the loyal Sir Lancelot, one of Arthur’s finest knights. In “Gareth and Lynette,” the young Gareth begins as a worker in Camelot’s kitchens before ascending to the role of knight and being sent on a quest to Castle Perilous. In “Enid,” Sir Geraint, disturbed by a rumored liaison between Lancelot and Guinevere, grows suspicious of his wife Enid and decides to leave Camelot. Unable to quell his distrust and jealousy, Geraint brings Enid on a dangerous quest in order to test her faith. Other sections of the sequence follow the quest for the Holy Grail, Guinevere’s escape from Camelot, and Mordred’s betrayal of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Idylls of the King illuminates an ancient legend for modern audiences, presenting stories of honor, romance, and adventure in engaging, accessible verse.
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King is a classic of English literature reimagined for modern readers.