For much of the Middle Ages, King Arthur was Europe’s model king. His court could be a space for heroism, for romance, and also for the uncanny. Often drawing on oral tradition, written for elite audiences, the Arthurian romances of the 13th and 14th centuries can be surprisingly revealing about cultural values and cultural debates. This week we'll be looking at Christmas feasts, sun-god figures, and complex debates about the morality of flirting.
Nennius, Historia Brittonum
Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain
Thomas Malory, Le Morte D’Arthur (Vol 1) (Vol 2)
Anon., "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight"
Leslie Alcock, Arthur’s Britain. Penguin Books, 2002.
Nicholas J. Higham, King Arthur: Myth-Making and History. Routledge, 2002.
Fun Arthurian novels exploring religious pluralism in 5th- and 6th-century Britain:
Mary Stewart, The Crystal Cave; The Hollow Hills; The Last Enchantment; The Wicked Day
Rosemary Sutcliff, Sword at Sunset (1963)
Music by Kevin MacLeod (www.incompetech.com)
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