Simon Marius


English translator and compiler, who is generally held to have been the author of the first great English prose epic, Le morte d'Arthur (The Death of Arthur). It is believed that he was an English knight of Warwickshire, that he saw military service in France, and that he spent many years in prison for political offenses and civic crimes. Le morte d'Arthur (1469-1470) was supposedly composed while the author was in prison. It was published in 1485 by the first English printer, William Caxton. It is a compilation and translation from old French sources (with additions from English sources and the compiler's own composition) of most of the tales about the semilegendary Arthur, king of the Britons, and his knights. One of the outstanding prose works of Middle English, it is divided into 21 books. The work is imbued with compassion for human faults and nostalgia for the bygone days of chivalry. The poetic prose is noted for its color, dignity, simplicity, and melodic quality.

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