The Romance of Tristan and Iseult
A tale of chivalry and doomed, transcendent love, The Romance of Tristan and Iseult is one of the most resonant works of Western literature, as well as the basis for our enduring idea of romance. The story of the Cornish knight and the Irish princess who meet by deception, fall in love by magic, and pursue that love in defiance of heavenly and earthly law has inspired artists from Matthew Arnold to Richard Wagner. But nowhere has it been retold with greater eloquence and dignity than in Joseph Bédier's edition, which weaves several medieval sources into a seamless whole, elegantly translated by Hilaire Belloc and Paul Rosenfeld. This story predates that of Lancelot and Guinevere, and is one of the most influential romances of the medieval period, inspiring many artists, from story-tellers to painters to composers.