The Story of King Arthur and his Knights

by Howard Pyle

Paperback, 1903



Local notes

398.2 Pyl





Charles Scribner's Sons (1903), Edition: Later Printing, Hardcover


A retelling of the adventures and exploits of King Arthur and his knights at the court of Camelot and elsewhere in the land of the Britons.


Original publication date


Physical description

9 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member theancientreader
This work is a bit different than what we normally review and post, but I feel it would be difficult to find a better book to introduce the young ones to the wonderful story of the legendary King Arthur.
I think it would be difficult to find a folk hero, historical figure or group of legends that
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are better known, have spawned more literature and have had more movies made of them than King Arthur and his legendary Round Table and the Knights and Ladies who were a part of his story. To be frank, I grew up on this stuff, and furtherer more, admit to having been tremendously influenced by these stories when I was younger. In a fashion, they are very much a part of my total make up. I can well remember reading and being read to out of this very rendition. That being said…
Howard Pyle first published this work in 1902. This book represents the first volume of Pyle’s retelling of the Arthurian Legend. These books, as most of this author’s work, were directed toward young people of that time. Do not though make the mistake of considering this work a simple child’s story, as it is far more than that. When I was in high school and then college, I ran headlong into Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, and like many other young students, when completely numb. Later, I read Baines’ rendition, which was of course more readable, but still quite a chore. While these works are certainly worthwhile, and should certainly be read by anyone with the least bit of interest in classical literature, they never-the-less are not easy works. Actually, they are rather difficult and you actually have to work at them. This is good, but sometimes you just want to relax and enjoy a good story. (I often speculate as to just how many people have been completely turned off to classical literature via having been forced to read these old tales when they were young. For those of you who were; a suggestion…try rereading them now. It is amazing what twenty or thirty years will do to your outlook!
This offering by Pyle fits that need, both for the younger reader and for the adult. I admit to taking great delight in reading this author’s rendition of these old tales and am absolutely thrilled that they are again in print and in such a wonderful edition. The language Pyle uses stays true to the archaic style it was meant to be, yet it is not overwhelming. While the Malory translation is just a kick above G. Chaucer’s, it is never the less difficult in this day and age. Pyle has toned things down so that the average reader can read and enjoy without a lap full of arcane dictionaries setting in their lap, yet he has not lost the essence and beauty of the original work.

This volume starts with the birth of Arthur and then covers many of the tales concerning the various Knights of the Round Table. We meet Sir Kay, Queen Morgana le Fay, Sir Pellias, Sir Gawaine, the wicked down fall of Merlin; The Lady Vivian, Merlin himself and many, many others. The courtly manners, speech and now long outdated attitudes are all meticulously recorded in a readable manner. Now do beware; this is not a politically correct book by any means. The original basis for the story goes back hundreds of years and Pyle’s rendition was, after all, written in 1902. Actually, if this one is read to a much younger child, an adult really should do the reading and offer explanations as to why events were handled in the way they were.

This particular volume is of course illustrated by Howard Pyle himself. I must admit that he is probably one of my most, if not the most, favorite of the older illustrators. The pen and ink drawings are so typically Pyle that it is difficult to confuse him with others. The ample illustrations in this volume are all of that style and in fact strongly resemble old wood engravings. Pyle of course was the creator, or at least the inspirational origin of the Brandy Wine School of Illustration, which include some of the best of the past and are still quite influential today.

For a pure reading joy, this volume is difficult to beat. I cannot wait to get my hand on the rest of the things.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
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LibraryThing member greeniezona
A bedtime story book that I read aloud to my eight-year-old. I found it a lot less stuffy than the collection by Roger Lancelyn Green that I read to my older son some years back. The language was very stylized, and there were a few phrases that it took my brain several chapters before it stopped
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trying to replace "missing" words -- but it didn't seem to borrow my kid at all.

We thoroughly enjoyed this, and if I ever get around to picking up a kid-appropriate grail story, I'm sure that I'll look for Pyle's version.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
I wasn't in the mood to read this properly. I think one needs more free time, because the language, while fun to begin with, became a hindrance to me as I went along. I became very impatient of it. These stories were written for children, and so leave out much of the pathos of the Arthurian legend.
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They deal with heroics, treachery, magic and honor. There is a moral at the end of each tale and dire warnings. :) I would have enjoyed this more as a young reader or teen, or perhaps just before I went to a Renaissance fair.
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LibraryThing member Czrbr
Book Description: Very Fine, 1965 1st Dover edition Binding is Trade paperback. Bookseller Inventory. Very Good/dd/Clean Text/Tight Copy

Dimensions in millimeters: 234 x 156 x 19 Dimensions in inches: 9.21 x 6.14 x 0.75
LibraryThing member 1derlys
This is a classic that deserves a place on the bookshelf in any home. It has mystery, adventure, battles, and friendship, love, betrayal and memorable characters that live forever in the mind. By way of inherited position Arthur becomes king of the entire realm. To prove his worthiness the true
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king must pull the sword from the rock and only Arthur is able to do this. It is a magical tale that will intrigue upper grades as a read-aloud.
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LibraryThing member Arkrayder
The Story of King Arthur and His Knights was a good book. I would recommend the book. However, its not perfect. the story is slow-placed at times, and some parts of the story aren't explained, leaving a few plot-holes. but other than that it is good.
LibraryThing member Brightman
Good examples of Howard Pyle's illustration. Pyle is in the artistic lineage of William Sautés Bock, who attended Philadelphia School of Art
LibraryThing member Hamburgerclan
I like heroic fiction. And as one raised in an culture descended from England, King Arthur is one of my favorite mythical heroes. I've picked up a variety of retellings of the legends of Camelot and this is my latest acquisition. Written for children, it was originally published in 1903 and,
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according to the scholarly afterward, is a rather American flavored retelling of the legend. I can see that, as the knights are all very individualistic and self sufficient. The book focuses on Arthur: how he became king, how he gained Excalibur and won the hand of Guinevere, among other tales. The stories are rather simplistic and the characters are all stereotypes, but for some reason it's fun and I had quite a good time reading it. (Though I have to admit, towards the end, as yet another joust was being proposed, I was hoping that some lowly squire would break character and say, "you know, there are less painful ways to settle differences.") If you like Arthur at all (the king, not D.W.'s brother), I would suggest you check it out.
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LibraryThing member wyclif
Still one of the best stories ever written for children and young people, and my favourite retelling of the Arthurian legend. A delight to read to my kids at bedtime. Pyle's illustrations are beautifully elegant, whimsical, and refined in style. Revisiting this series again for the first time since
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½ (143 ratings; 3.9)
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