KING ARTHUR - University of Missouri-St. Louis

KING ARTHUR - University of Missouri-St. Louis

KING ARTHUR AFTER MALORY LE MORTE DARTHUR after Malory 1634: Last printing for nearly two hundred years. During the end of the Middle Ages, interest in King Arthur started to wane. There were increasing attacks upon Arthurs historical truthfulness. King Arthur and the Arthurian legend were not entirely abandoned, but until the early 19th century the material was taken less seriously and was often used simply as a vehicle for allegories of 17 th and 18th Century politics or presented farcically.

Sir Richard Blackmores Prince Arthur, an Heroick Poem in X Books (1695). A celebration of William III. Henry Fieldings play Tom Thumb (1730). Renewed interest came about with the advent of Romanticism in the early 19th Century most notably through poetry. 1816: Back in print! FAERIE QUEENE by Edmund Spenser

1590-1596 Spenser does not build off of any Arthurian myths. He creates an Arthur that suits the purposes of his own aims, but uses Arthur because of his (Arthurs) popularity. Arthur is in search of the Faerie Queene, whom he saw in a vision. Arthur is not yet king. Only a knight at this point. Spenser wrote a letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, in which he tells of his idea for the Faerie Queene, wherein he mentions Arthur and Arthurs purpose thereof. Letter to Raleigh I chose the historye of king Arthure, as most fitte for the excellency of his person being made famous by many mens former workes, and also furthest from the daunger of enuy, and suspition of present timeI labour to pourtraict in Arthure, before he was king, the image of a braue knight, perfected in the twelue morall vertues, as Aristotle hath deuised, the which is the purpose of these first twelue

bookes: which if I finde to be well accepted, I may be perhaps encoraged, to frame the other part of polliticke vertues in his person, after that hee came to be king So in the person of Prince Arthure I sette forth magnificence in particular, which vertue for that (according to Aristotle and the rest) it is the perfection of all the rest, and conteineth in it them all, therefore in the whole course I mention the deedes of Arthure applyable to that vertue, which I write of in that booke. But of the xii. other vertues, I make xii. other knights the patrones, for the more variety of the history. IDYLLS OF THE KING By Alfred Lord Tennyson 1856-1874 Tennyson mostly builds off of Malorys Arthur and the Mabinogion, but expands on and adds to them. - Makes direct references to Malorys Morte: And he [Malory] that told the tale in older times / Says that Sir Gareth wedded Lyonors, / But he, that told it later [Tennyson], says

Lynette (from the idyll Gareth and Lynette lines 1392-1394). Often read as an allegory of the societal conflicts in Britain during the mid-Victorian era. A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHURS COURT By Mark Twain 1889 A satire of Arthurian Legends, mostly Malorys Morte. Twains account is not an idealizing of a chivalric past (that never existed), but a pointing out of a past that lacks in every societal arena as compared to 19 th Century America. The Medieval past is not chivalry, but slavery. Twains partiality to American democracy is obvious, as well as his

belittling of Britains noble past the past which Arthur (and his legends) embodies. THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING By T.H. White 1938-1958 Constituted of four parts 1. The Sword in the Stone; 2. The Queen of Air and Darkness; 3. The Ill-Made Knight; 4. The Candle in the Wind. Thomas Malory is actually a character: a squire of King Arthurs. Like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court, The Once and Future King is judgmental of the noble past. Arthur tries to set up a moral society, but it seems a futile endeavor since knights use

muscle on the battlefield and give little thought to moral righteousness. White demonstrates the frivolousness and absurdity of knighthood. The Questing Beast. Arthur is not glorified as heroic because of military prowess, but because of his political innovativeness. Arthur is only successful at this because of Merlin. THE MISTS OF AVALON By Marion Zimmer Bradley 1982 The Arthurian Legend told through the eyes and lives of the women of

the legends. Protagonist (of this particular novel in the series) is Morgan Le Fay. She is not merely a two-dimensional, evil witch as she is portrayed in the other legends. Largely focused on the religious (Christian vs. Pagan) aspect of the legend. Some Films of King Arthur Disneys The Sword in the Stone (1963) Adaptation of the first book in Whites Quartet. Camelot (1967) Musical. Based on the last two books in Whites Quartet.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) Parody/Burlesque of Arthurian Legend, much in the same vain as Twain. Excalibur (1981) Fairly decent telling of Legend to a modern audience. (So Ive read. I havent seen it). First Knight (1995) Follows Lancelot and Guineveres love. Draws from elements of Chrtien de Troyes. (Havent seen this one either). King Arthur (2004)

The true story of the real Arthur. Ha! The Real Arthur There is an occidental obsession with discovering who King Arthur really was. And several results thereof. Identified with everything from a Roman soldier to a Welsh druid. Several of the myths are, in fact, real events of a real king Riothamus. Seems to me that Arthur merely represents whatever a peculiar author of particular age wants to suggest about said age and the roots of that ages mentality, be it either by satire, metonymy, metaphor, or, simply, just by recognition of a known symbolic individual. Works Cited

Ashe, Geoffrey. The Discovery of King Arthur. Ace Books, New York: 1996. Bradley, Marion Zimmer. The Mists of Avalon. Random House, New York: 1982. Goodrich, Norma Lorre. King Arthur. Perennial Library, New York: 1986. Merriam Webster. Encyclopedia of Literature. Ed. Kathleen Kuiper. Springfield, Merriam-Webster Inc: 1995. Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queene. Ed. Thomas P. Roche Jr. Penguin Books, London: 1987. Tennyson, Alfred. Idylls of the King. Penguin Books, London: 1996. Twain, Mark. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court. Barnes & Noble Classics, New York: 2005. White, T.H. The Once and Future King. Ace Books, New York: 1996.

Images 1) Le Morte DArthur: Faerie Queene: Idylls of the King: yI/s1600-h/Death3.jpg Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court: %20Page/News/Draft%20Articles/eTech%202007%20draft%20clips/eTech %202007%20draft_clip_image003.jpg The Once and Future King: The Mists of Avalon:

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