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Galleys and Malory
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So, I got the galley proofs for my story "Grail Knight" coming out soon in the debut issue of Paradox. So far I've been over them once, and haven't spotted a single typo, though I think I spotted a place where the copyeditor fixed an error of mine.

It is a big thrill seeing the story typeset. And sitting down and re-reading the story was interesting. I find it hard to read my own work, but I guess it's been long enough since I wrote "Grail Knight" that I could read it with some objectivity. And I was delighted to discover how well it worked for me: I was surprised/pleased/dismayed in all the right places.

I don't know how well the story works for a reader who isn't thoroughly steeped in the Arthurian mythos. I think a lot of the real ooomph in the story comes from its showing a course of events and a set of character motivations that is fully consistent with the surface of events as presented in Malory (at least up until the end of the story, where things diverge), but which gives events a different interpretation from the standard one.

After musing on this for a little bit, I looked over at Mary Anne's journal, and discovered that she's reading Morte d'Arthur right now. In one entry, she says, "I wish I understood the psychology of these books better." Heh. Sometimes I think that the psychological impenetrability of Malory is one reason why so much subsequent Arthurian fiction has been written. We do it to try to explain why people would behave that way.

I also got a kick out of this entry, because "Grail Knight" actually features the Lancelot/Guinevere/Elaine triangle and various people running around arranging assignations. My general feeling is that of course everyone knows that L & G are getting it on, but nobody wants to *say* so, at least publicly, because the consequences of exposure are so devastating.

And I think that Lancelot goes mad not so much because Guinevere is angry with him, but because he can't deal with his inability to live up to his rigid code of chivalric romance. A code which is pretty schizophrenic in itself: it simultaneously says that Lancelot's relationship with Guinevere is Wrong, and demands that he be totally faithful to her.

And yes, I completely agree with Mary Anne: sanity was not Lancelot's strong suit to begin with.

Anyway, I'm pretty impressed that Mary Anne is reading all of Morte D'Arthur in such a short time. My copy of Morte D'Arthur is a beat-up paperback: the cover had some kind of weird plastic laminate coating that is now peeling off in a few places, the pages are well-thumbed, and it's got Post-It flags stuck in to mark key passages for reference. I've read the book many times, but I don't think I've ever actually sat down and read it cover to cover: I knew the basic skeleton of the Arthur legend long before I came to Malory, and I tend to just dip in and read episodes here and there. The idea of going cover to cover in one fell swoop seems daunting even to an Arthur junkie like me.

Guess you gotta be tough to get a doctorate in English lit. My hat's off to you, Mary Anne!

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