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King Arthur: History and Legend

King Arthur: History and Legend
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Genre: History, Biography

The saga of King Arthur and his knights and ladies is perhaps the most enduringly popular mythic tradition of Western civilization. For over 1500 years, the Arthurian narrative has enthralled writers, artists, and a limitless audience in countries spanning the Western world and beyond-and its appeal continues unabated in our own times.

With origins in the exploits of a 5th-century Celtic warrior, the legend of a noble king and his knightly cohort caught fire across Europe, spawning a vast literary tradition that reached its height in the Middle Ages, with major contributions from writers both in Britain and throughout the Continent.

But the appeal of the saga far outlived the medieval era. It remained dynamically alive in folk culture and theater through the Renaissance, only to see an epic literary and artistic resurgence in the 19th century, which continues to the present day in multiple forms-from fiction writing and visual arts to film and popular culture. No other heroic figure in literature compares with King Arthur in terms of global popularity and longevity; today, each year sees literally thousands of new versions of the story appear across diverse media.

What does this amazing phenomenon tell us about our culture, our civilization, and ourselves? What is it about this particular story that has so deeply gripped the human imagination for so many centuries, in so many places?

King Arthur: History and Legend speaks deeply to these key questions and many more, revealing the full and astonishing scope of the Arthurian tradition, from its beginnings in post-Roman Britain to its extraordinary trajectory across the centuries and its latest incarnations in our own times. Within 24 content-rich lectures, you'll encounter all of the most essential portrayals of the Arthurian saga in literature and art, encompassing:

the preeminent treatments of the legend in Latin, Welsh, and English texts, including milestone versions from Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain to T.H. White's The Once and Future King;
seminal versions of the narrative and major thematic additions by writers in France, Germany, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and other European countries, including monumental texts such as the Perlesvaus and the Prose Lancelot;
iconic representations of Arthurian themes in visual art, from medieval stonework and woodcarving to the flowering of the saga in 19th-century painting and decorative art; and
the remarkable transformations of the stories in 20th- and 21st-century literature, art, and film.

Your pathfinder in this world of mythic adventure and romance is Professor Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University, an expert Arthurian scholar and current editor-in-chief of the academic journal Arthuriana, who brings rare insight and depth to this most unusual and compelling inquiry. Through her incisive commentary, you'll draw out the core archetypes and cultural values that drive the saga, exploring in depth its elemental themes of kingship, courage, virtue, loyalty, romantic love, and devotion to God.

You'll also trace how the myth developed across time, clarifying many misunderstood aspects of the narrative, such as the origins of the Round Table and the figure of Merlin, the illicit love between Lancelot and Guenevere, and the varied manifestations of the magical Holy Grail. You'll discover how the legend was appropriated and assimilated by differing cultures, and how each writer in the tradition reflected and commented, through the Arthurian narrative, on the concerns of their own time and place. The result is an illuminating look at one of the most engaging, entertaining, and impactful legendary traditions the world has ever known.


01-Origins of King Arthur
02-An Arthur-Like Figure in Cornwall
03-King Arthur in the Latin Chronicles
04-King Arthur in Wales-The Mabinogion
05-Monmouth, Merlin, and Courtly
06-The Round Table-Arthur in Wace and Layamon
07-Chr?tien de Troyes and Sir Lancelot
08-Arthurian Tales in Brittany and Burgundy
09-Lancelot-Grail Cycle
10-Early German Arthurian Tradition
11-King Arthur's Other German Adaptations
12-Arthurian Sagas of Scandinavia
13-Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
14-Alliterative Morte Arthure
15-Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur
16-Enriching the Legend-Tristan and Isolde
17-Holy Grail from Chr?tien to Dan Brown
18-Arthuriana in Medieval Art
19-Spenser, Milton, and the Renaissance Arthur
20-Idylls of the King-Victorian Arthur
21-Wagner and Twain-King Arthur in the Late 1800s
22-Once and Future-20th-Century Arthur
23-Camelot Comes to Hollywood
24-King Arthur in the 21st Century and Beyond

King Arthur: History and Legend
King Arthur: History and Legend
King Arthur: History and Legend

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