Tristan and Iseult

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Tristan and Iseult


(Tristan and Isolde), the title of various Western European literary works of the Middle Ages and the modern era. The story is of Celtic origin, the original names of the heroes being Drystan and Essylt. The legend deals with the tragic love of Iseult, the wife of the king of Cornwall, for her husband’s nephew. It was first adapted by French poets, including Béroul and Thomas of Britain (1170’s). Thomas of Britain gave psychological depth to the characters and stressed the conflict between their emotions and the feudal and moral duty oppressing them. The Alsatian Gottfried von Strassburg reworked Thomas’ book in the early 13th century.

The legend was subsequently reworked in English, Italian, Spanish (13th century), Czech (14th century), Serbian (15th century), Byelorussian (16th century), and other languages. During the romantic era the legend was the theme of narrative poems by A. W. von Schlegel, W. Scott, and K. Immermann and an opera by R. Wagner (staged in 1865).


In Russian translation:
Bédier, J. Roman o Tristane i Izol’de. Moscow, 1955.
Legenda o Tristane i Izol’de. Edition prepared by A. D. Mikhailov. Moscow, 1976.


Tristan i Isol’da. [Collaborative work.] Leningrad, 1932.
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 106–10.
Istoriia nemelskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1962. Pages 76–81.
Eisner, S. The Tristan Legend. Evanston, Ill., 1969.


Tristan and Iseult

irrevocably enamored; die because of his wife’s machinations. [Medieval Legend: Tristan and Iseult; Ger. Opera: Tristan and Iseult]

Tristan and Iseult

their pact of undying love has tragic consequences. [Medieval Legend: Tristan and Iseult; Ger. Opera: Tristan and Iseult]
References in periodicals archive ?
Neolithic artifacts, Sumerian and Egyptian goddesses, the Greek pantheon, the Iliad and Odyssey, the Virgin Mary, and the story of Tristan and Iseult are analyzed.
The brilliantly coloured Tristan and Iseult Playing Chess from a French manuscript, Tmtan enprose, of around 1470 (Bibliotheque nationale de France) is one of the highlights of a striking room devoted to the chessboard.