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); a substantial portion of the Works of Sir Thomas Malory; and Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. Because each period created the king it wanted, we will encounter many Arthurs and many—even conflicting—versions of his story.
Requirements include a 10-12 page paper, topic to be decided in conference with the Preceptor, a midterm and a two-hour final exam. Be advised: there is a lot of reading in this course, and it is essential that you keep up.
Note: This course has been retired from Signum University’s course rotation.
The Arthur Story will meet Tuesday and Friday (primary lecture and closing session) from 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm (UTC-5)
- Handout– Arthur in History and Folklore
Week 2 – The Warrior King
- Geoffrey, History Part 3 pp. 145-48, & Parts 4-7
Week 3 – The Fairy Tale King
- Mabinogion, “Culhwch and Olwen”
Week 4 – NO CLASS
Week 5 – The Courtly King: Courtly Love & Social Behavior
- Chrétien, Lancelot
- Chrétien, Perceval
Week 7 –The Tragic King: Malory, Caxton, the Manuscript
- The Tale of King Arthur, “Merlin” pp. 3-37,
- “Balin” pp. 37-59,
- “Torre & Pellinore“
- “Five Kings”
- “Accolon, Gawain, Yvain” pp. 59-110.
- “A Noble Tale of Sir Launcelot” & “The Tale of Sir Gareth” pp. 149-226,
- “Lancelot and Elaine” pp. 477-506.
- “The Tale of the Sankgreal” pp. 515-608
- “The Book of Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere” pp. 611-648,
- “The Most Piteous Tale of the Morte Arthur” pp. 673-726.
Paper due 8-10 pp.
Week 11 –The Ideal King
- Tennyson, Idylls of the King pp. 19-167
- Tennyson, Idylls pp. 168-302
- 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
This course has been offered in the following semesters.
|Summer 2012||Liam Daley|