Tristan and Iseult

fast-paced action adventure from the Middle Ages,
with sex and death at every turn . . .

sunlight on the point of a broadsword,
kisses in the shadows . . .

The tale begins with the passion that begets Tristan. It moves on – through kidnapping, sea voyages, single combat, dragon slaying, a maiden’s rage and a mother’s herbal magic – to a love that plays havoc with the lovers’ honour. King Mark, his wife Iseult, his nephew Tristan make their way via a classic love triangle through dangers and delights and downright foolishness to the lovers’ final tragedy.

In the 12th Century poets and bards vied to please Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen Consort of England, with their renditions of this story. But its origins are hundreds of years older than that and cloaked in mystery. Some say it has roots in Persia, others that the tale started as a Pictish legend that made its way from Scotland to Wales, Ireland and Brittany. It spread through the Western world, and down through the centuries to us now.

My telling of this epic takes about 2 hours 20 minutes.  If done in one sitting, I add a break of 20 minutes.  The material is suitable for anyone aged 12 and up, but there are scenes of sex and violence.

Listen to an excerpt from Tristan & Iseult
Tristan & Iseult excerpt

My sources are as follows:
Thomas of Britain, with missing sections supplied by Robert of Norway
This is the main source, and one of the five extant earliest sources.

The other ones are:
Beroul, Eilhart von Oberge, Gottfried von Strassburg, and an anonymous French poet.  I delved into each of these as well, to a lesser extent.

Joseph Bedier, and Rosemary Sutcliff provided some additional thought, in particular, Ms. Sutcliff inspired the colour of Iseult’s hair in my version of the tale.

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