Who was Arthur? Who is Arthur? Was there an Arthur? What do we know and how do we know it?
We will track the legendary yet mysterious king from his beginnings in the late 5th/early 6th century through 1500 years during which his story moved from history to folklore to romance to tragedy. A handout available online will put Arthur in the context of his earliest sources. We will move on to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain; the early Welsh fairy tale “Culhwch and Olwen” from the Mabinogion; two romances of Chrétien de Troyes—Lancelot and Perceval (in English translation); and a substantial portion of the Works of Sir Thomas Malory. Because each period created the king it wanted, we will encounter many Arthurs and many—even conflicting—versions of his story.
The Arthur Story (Summer 2012)
The History of the Kings of Britain – Geoffrey of Monmouth, translated by Lewis Thorpe
The Mabinogion – translated by Thomas Jones and Gwen Jones
Lancelot; or, the Knight of the Cart – Chrétien de Troyes, translated by Ruth Harwood Cline
Perceval; or The Story of The Grail - Chrétien de Troyes, translated by Ruth Harwood Cline
Malory: Complete Works – Thomas Malory, edited by Eugene Vinaver
The Idylls of the King – Alfred Tennyson, edited by J.M. Gray