The Romance of
Tristan and Iseult
The most complete and beautiful version of Joseph Bédier’s classic ever to appear in English, including Gaston Paris’s original Preface, Bédier’s historic essay “On the Nature of the Legend of Tristan and Iseult” and Vincent Nicolosi’s Introduction, which sheds light on the tale’s Celtic nature and origins.
Joseph Bédier published Le Roman de Tristan et Iseut in 1900 in Paris. A few years later Hilaire Belloc introduced the English-speaking world to this marvelous tale with his equally marvelous translation. Or rather, he introduced the English-speaking world to part of this tale. One definite shortcoming of Belloc’s otherwise compelling and exquisite translation is that he omitted, suppressed, so very, very much; in fact, thousands upon thousands of words, including: four chapters, either in their entirety or in part, along with a scattering of sections, phrases, and single words. Some of Belloc’s omissions were inexplicable, though he obviously found certain passages too steamy and indelicate. Decades later, and decades ago, Paul Rosenfeld restored some of Belloc’s omissions. But not all. Nor did he correct the scattered errors found in Belloc’s original English text.
Now Fonthill Press makes available for the first time in well over a century the most complete, exquisite, and definitive edition of Joseph Bédier’s The Romance of Tristan and Iseult to ever appear in the English language. From beginning to end this Fonthill edition -- available both as an eBook and in an elegantly beautiful archival edition, reasonably priced -- retains the poetry and loveliness of the original, along with the sense of fatality and pathos that have made this tragic romance one of the most enduring and fascinating tales in all of literature.