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Tristan and Iseult in Cornwall

When we were enjoying a little King Arthur debate Joanna mentioned the Tristan and Iseult story. I thought I'd post some pictures relevant to the tale. There is a popular German opera based on the romance. But in the story Iseult is an Irish Princess, who is escorted by Tristan from Ireland to Cornwall, in order that she may marry King Mark of Cornwall. But Tristan and Iseult fall in love en-route. This is especially complicated because Tristan and Mark are related. Tristanis Mark's nephew, or perhaps his son. The Irish connection just became nicely relevant because I am escorting an Irish group on Sunday. These journalists are here to promote a new link between Newquay Airport and Dublin Airport. Their itinerary was almost completely prescribed but I've persuaded them to do a little detour to Roche Rock. Roche Rock is a candidate for Tristan's leap. A manoeuvre he employs to escape Mark's guards. There are various versions of the story, it doesn't ever end well I think, but maybe Joanna has a favourite?

Wow I’d love to go on a Tristan tour! Yes, the story of Tristan/Tristram and Iseult/Isolt/Isolde/Isoud is love tragedy through-and-through. In the older versions, like Gottfried von Strassbourg’s (13th Century, off of which the opera is based), Tristan (spoiler alert!) dies when his wife (another Iseult) misinforms him that his lover Iseult has refused to come heal his mortal wound. Iseult subsequently dies when she does arrive to heal Tristan, only to find him recently expired. However, I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with Sir Thomas Malory’s version (in Le Morte d’Arthur). He dedicates four of his twenty-one books on the Tristan story, incorporating it further into the Arthurian legend, only to ‘resolve’ it in one curt sentence in book twenty. Malory references Tristram when talking of 'the greatest knights of the world’, then almost flippantly informs us that ‘that false traitor King Mark slew him as he sat harping afore his lady La Beale Isoud, with a grounded glaive he thrust him in behind to the heart’. Those are all the details we get of the death of the second-best knight and lover in the world who managed to cheat death time and time again. We don’t even get Isoud’s reaction! It just shows one of Malory’s many quirky idiosyncrasies.

This extract was taken from a Cornish Heritage Safaris Facebook post on 4 March 2015, and followed a previous post about King Arthur. There were several photogrpahs included, which shoud still be there and visible!

However and unfortunately, the posts have not proved very stable on Facebook and so the following link may to view photos, or may not work

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cornish-Heritage-Safaris/203136573068010?ref=hl