See The Works of Sir Thomas Malory, ed. by E. Vinaver (3 vol., 2d ed. 1967); biographies by P. J. C. Field (1993) and C. Hardyment (2006); studies by W. Matthews (1966), P. J. C. Field (1971), M. Lambert (1975), B. Dillon, ed. (1978), T. Takamiya and D. Brewer (rev. ed. 1986), M. J. Parins, ed. (1988), T. McCarthy (1991), E. Archibald and A. S. G. Edwards, ed. (1996), D. T. Hanks, Jr. (1992 and 2000), M. D. Svogun (2000), E. Edwards (2001), C. Batt (2002), D. Armstrong (2003), N. Dentzien (2004), and K. S. Whetter and R. L. Radulescu, ed. (2005).
All facts are certain in Malory's history. He was born in 1405 . He died in March of 1471, less than two years after completing his lengthy book. Twice elected to a seat in Parliament, he also accrued a long list of criminal charges during the 1450s, including burglary, rape, sheep stealing, and attempting to ambush the Duke of Buckingham. He escaped from jail on two occasions, once by fighting his way out with a variety of weapons and by swimming a moat. Malory was imprisoned at several locations in London, but he was occasionally out on bail. He was never brought to trial for the charges that had been levelled against him. In the 1460s he was at least once pardoned by King Henry VI, but more often, he was specifically excluded from pardon by both Henry VI and his rival and successor, Edward IV. It can be construed from comments Malory makes at the ends of sections of his narrative that he composed at least part of his work while in prison. William Oldys speculates that he may have been a priest, based on Malory's description of himself in the colophon to Le Morte d'Arthur:
I pray you all, gentlemen and gentlewomen that readeth this book of Arthur and his knights, from the beginning to the ending, pray for me while I am alive, that God send me good deliverance, and when I am dead, I pray you all pray for my soul. For this book was ended the ninth year of the reign of King Edward the Fourth, by Sir Thomas Maleore, knight, as Jesu help him for His great might, as he is the servant of Jesu both day and night. (Malory p. 531)
A young Malory appears as a character at the end of T.H. White's book The Once and Future King, which was based on Le Morte d'Arthur; this cameo is included in the Broadway musical Camelot. Many modern takes on the Arthurian legend have their roots in Malory, including John Boorman's 1981 movie Excalibur, which includes selected elements of the book.