Tristan and Isolt

The Queen drank deep of that draught and gave it to Tristan.

Tristan and Isolt

CharactersName Variants: Tristram, Tristrem, Tristran, Trostan, Isolde, Iseult, Yseult, IsoudBackground Essay Author: N. M. Heckel
Tristan and Isolt's conflict of love and loyalty is one of the classic tales of Western literature; in the Arthurian tradition, their tragic tragectory rivals and complements that of Lancelot and Guinevere. The basic story is one of mis-directed love: Tristan, the heroic nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, is sent to Ireland to escort the Irish king's daughter, the beautiful Isolt, to Cornwall to become his uncle's bride. In most versions, it is during the return voyage that Tristan and Isolt accidentally consume a love potion (meant to ensure Isolt's happiness with Mark) together, and fall in love. Because Isolt's engagement to Mark cannot be broken, she marries the king despite her love for Tristan, and the two lovers spend the rest of their lives attempting to satisfy their desire for each other without revealing that desire to Mark and the Cornish court. The tale of potion-induced passion has proved irresistable to artists in all media, from literature to visual arts to music, to the point that Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde is now more famous than the text on which it is based, the thirteenth century Tristan and Isolde of Gottfried von Strassburg. Virtually all versions of the legend revolve around conflicting themes of romantic love and political loyalty, though no two tellings treat these themes identically.

Tristan and Isolt in the Middle Ages

Scholarly speculation places the geographical origins of the Tristan and Isolt legend anywhere from Ireland to Cornwall to Wales to Persia. The biggest disputes in Tristan scholarship tend to be between the camp known as the "Celticists" who support the idea of a Celtic origin for the story, and those who support a Persian source. However, the arguments for a Persian

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Adams, Oscar Fay (1855 - 1919)
Arnold, Matthew (1822 - 1888)
Tristram and Iseult - 1852 (Author)
Auslander, Joseph (1879 - 1965)
Yseult - 1924 (Author)
Baring, Maurice (1874 - 1945)
Ballad - 1911 (Author)
The Camelot Jousts - 1910 (Author)
From the Diary of Iseult of Brittany - 1913 (Author)
Tristram and Iseult - 1911 (Author)
Tristram and Iseult: A Play in Five Acts - 1911 (Author)
Bartlett, Gertrude
Bartlett, Gertrude (1876 - 1942)
Binyon, Laurence (1869 - 1943)
Tristram's End - 1922 (Author)
Bridges, Sallie (1830 - 1910)
The Love-Drink - 1864 (Author)
Sir Tristem - March 22, 1862 (Author)
Carr, J. Comyns (1849 - 1916)
Cawein, Madison J. (1865 - 1914)
Isolt - 1907 (Author)
Tristram and Isolt - 1898 (Author)
Tristram to Isolt - 1907 (Author)
Dobson, Austin (1840 - 1921)
Palomydes - 1885 (Author)
Sir Kay's Excuse - 1870 (Author)
The Lament of Palomides - 1862 (Author)
Guiterman, Arthur (November 20, 1871 - January 11, 1943)
Queen Yseult's Bell - 1921 (Author)
Hawker, Robert Stephen (c. 1803 - 1875)
Hayne, Paul Hamilton (January 1, 1830 - July 6, 1886)
Tristram of the Wood - 1882 (Author)
Hervey, Mrs. T. K. (1811 - 1903)
An Iseult Idyll - 1901 (Author)
Lupack, Alan (1946 - )
Manning, Frederic (1882 - 1935)
Tristram - 1910 (Author)
A Ballad of Cornwall - October 1896 (Author)
Morris, William
Morris, William (1834 - 1896)
Palomydes' Quest - 1910-15 (Author)
St. Agnes' Convent - 1910-15 (Author)
Essay [On Tristran and Isolt] - 1907 (Author)
Isolt's Return - 1907 (Author)
Tristram's Tomb - 1928 (Author)
Sir Franklin - November 1865 (Author)
Prose Tristan - 1780 (Translator)
Rhys, Ernest (1859 - 1946)
Sir Palomides' Lament - 1934 (Author)
Thomas the Rhymer, Part Third - 1802; rpt. 1868 (Author)
Joyeuse Garde - 1918 (Author)
Queen Yseult - 1918 (Author)
Tristram of Lyonesse - 1882 (Author)
Two Preludes: Lohengrin; Tristan und Isolde - 1883 (Author)
Symons, Arthur (February 28, 1865 - January 22, 1945)
Song for Iseult - 1918 ()
Tristan's Song - 1905 ()
The Secret of Sir Dinadan - May 1894 (Author)
Tatum, Edith (1877 - 1955)
The Awakening of Iseult - August 1913 (Author)
Idylls of the King - 1859-1885 (Author)
The Last Tournament - 1859-1885 (Author)
Thomas, Edward (1878 - 1917)
Isoud - 1922 (Author)
Todhunter, John (1839 - 1916)
The Song of Tristram - 1894 (Author)
Spring Thoughts - April 15, 1865 (Author)
Weston, Jessie (1850 - 1928)
Whitney, Helen Hay (1875 - 1944)
When Tristan Sailed - 1907 (Author)
Young, Ella (1867 - 1956)
A Song That Trostan Made - 1922 (Author)
Trostan Made This - 1922 (Author)