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KING ARTHUR AFTER MALORY. LE MORTE D’ARTHUR after Malory 1634: Last printing for nearly two hundred years. During the end of the Middle Ages, interest.

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Presentation on theme: "KING ARTHUR AFTER MALORY. LE MORTE D’ARTHUR after Malory 1634: Last printing for nearly two hundred years. During the end of the Middle Ages, interest."— Presentation transcript:


2 LE MORTE D’ARTHUR 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 Arthur’s 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 18 th Century politics or presented farcically. – Sir Richard Blackmore’s Prince Arthur, an Heroick Poem in X Books (1695). A celebration of William III. – Henry Fielding’s play Tom Thumb (1730). Renewed interest came about with the advent of Romanticism in the early 19 th Century – most notably through poetry. 1816: Back in print!

3 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 (Arthur’s) 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 Arthur’s purpose thereof.

4 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 time…I 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.

5 IDYLLS OF THE KING By Alfred Lord Tennyson 1856-1874 Tennyson mostly builds off of Malory’s Arthur and the Mabinogion, but expands on and adds to them. - Makes direct references to Malory’s 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.

6 A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT By Mark Twain 1889 A satire of Arthurian Legends, mostly Malory’s Morte. Twain’s 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. Twain’s partiality to American democracy is obvious, as well as his belittling of Britain’s “noble past” – the past which Arthur (and his legends) embodies.

7 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 Arthur’s. Like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s 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.

8 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.

9 Some Films of King Arthur Disney’s The Sword in the Stone (1963) – Adaptation of the first book in White’s Quartet. Camelot (1967) – Musical. Based on the last two books in White’s 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 I’ve read. I haven’t seen it). First Knight (1995) – Follows Lancelot and Guinevere’s love. Draws from elements of Chrétien de Troyes. (Haven’t seen this one either). King Arthur (2004) – The true story of the real Arthur. Ha!

10 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 age’s mentality, be it either by satire, metonymy, metaphor, or, simply, just by recognition of a known symbolic individual.

11 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 Arthur’s Court. Barnes & Noble Classics, New York: 2005. White, T.H. The Once and Future King. Ace Books, New York: 1996.

12 Images 1) KingArthur-1.jpg Le Morte D’Arthur: Images%2020-40/34-d-Death-of-King-Arthur.jpg Faerie Queene: Idylls of the King: I/s1600-h/Death3.jpg Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court: 02007%20draft%20clips/eTech%202007%20draft_clip_image003.jpg The Once and Future King: stone-01.jpg The Mists of Avalon:

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