Tristan and Iseult

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Nurkse dusts off the medieval tale of Tristan and Iseult and reshapes it into a postmodern myth.
Gottfried von Strassburg's Tristan is the topic of chapter five and exemplifies a love that is earthly but not sinful (since its source is the love potion that Tristan and Iseult drink, and not lustful thought).
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.
Tristan and Iseult, whose legend, originally separate, was tied in to Arthur's by the chroniclers, figure richly in the exhibition.
"The Lady" and "The Knight" then meet and lock into a duel of pride, desire, vanity, jealousy and revenge that's as old as, well, Tristan and Iseult.
Comparing Romeo and Juliet with the Tristan and Iseult story, he argued that what the play is really about is not tragic waste but the desire for death.
The Celtic legend of Tristan and Iseult (TRISTAN AND Isolde) reached Germany through French sources.
Like the elopement tale The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne, the story of Deirdre is an early parallel to episodes in the Tristan and Iseult legend.
The name of the heroine in the medieval cycle Tristan and Iseult. There are many other versions and parallels of this cycle, beginning with early Irish tales (see The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne ) and appearing in the modern world in such forms as the music drama of Richard Wagner.
In the medieval legend of Tristan and Iseult , king of Cornwall, husband of Iseult, and uncle of Tristan.
An outstanding example may be found in the legend of Tristan and Iseult. Setting forth for the trial that is to determine whether she is guilty of a love affair with Tristan, Iseult sends word to Tristan to disguise himself as a poor pilgrim and meet her on the way.