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Sir Thomas Malory

It is not known exactly when or where the English poet Thomas Malory was born except that it is likely to have been in the early fifteenth-century.

Malory is famous for his epic work on Arthurian legend. Le Morte d’Arthur, written in English, which is believed to have been completed in c.AD1478, and is considered to be of the highest romantic prose that draws together the various strands of history, or legend depending on your point of view, to provide a literary unity to known French Arthurian romance of this period.

The preface of Le Morte d’Arthur was written by Caxton stating that Malory’s work had something more to offer the reader than simply an new alternative viewpoint on the Arthurian legend. The Caxton Printers released this work as the first mass distributed work from a press in AD1485. It clearly states in the preface also that Caxton believed that Malory was indeed a Knight, which has given rise to speculation on whether Malory could possibly have known vital information on the life of Arthur, and the speculation on whether Malory was indeed a Knight who could trace his ancestry to the historic Arthur. As there is no hard evidence the information contained in this work, both ideas still remain speculation.

Although it is not certain, it is thought that the English poet was the same Sir Thomas Malory believed to be from Newbold Revel, Warwickshire, England. The Warwickshire Thomas is known to have been imprisoned and to have entered into argument with a nearby priory.

Reference to Malory is alluded to in TH White’s novel tetralogy The Once and Future King. Tom of Newbold Revel, a Page boy, is the central character. Tom, is thought to be Sir Thomas Malory, who, on the eve before the Battle of Camlan, is told of the details of the Knights and Arthurian history by King Arthur himself. Arthur stresses that it is vital that Tom listens attentively and that he must escape from the battle in order for the history to survive.

It has been suggested that the work of Lord Alfred Tennyson drew on Le Morte d’Arthur to create Idylls of the King (AD1859-85).

Malory is believed to have died c.AD1471.