Crafting the witch: Gendering magic in medieval and early modern England

The Devil and witches

This project documents and analyzes the gendered transformation of magical figures occurring in Arthurian romance in England from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries.

Approaches to paganism and uses of the pre-Christian past in Geoffrey of Monmouth and Snorri Sturluson

Decorated initials 'C'(umque) and 'K'(imbelinus) in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia regum Britanniae. Photo courtesy British Library

The dissertation is a comparative analysis of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s and Snorri Sturlusson’s descriptions of paganism and uses of pre-Christian history. What was the function of these pre-Christian narratives, and what apporaches were used by the two authors to construct a complete image of the past, acceptable to their contemporary societies?

Translating the Life of Merlin

Merlin - Royal 20.A.II, f.3v British Library

This essay analyses three of the most prominent translations of the Life of Merlin, in order to discern how the translator’s differing methods have resulted in subtle, yet important, changes in meaning.

Mordred: Treachery, Transference, and Border Pressure in British Arthurian Romance

Sir Mordred

This study focuses on the question of how Mordred comes to be portrayed as a traitor within the British Arthurian context.

Writing conquest: traditions of Anglo-Saxon invasion and resistance in the twelfth century

Norman Conquest

Writing Conquest examines the ways in which Latin, Old English, and Middle English twelfth-century historical and pseudo-historical texts remembered and reconstructed three formative moments of Anglo-Saxon invasion and resistance…

The very first Anglo Saxon toast?

wassail

If the Historia should not be used to accurately retrace the history of Britain, it nonetheless features some of those tiny hints historians must seriously attend to.

The Public and Private Boundaries of Motherhood: Queen Igraine in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia and Laȝamon’s Brut’

Queen Igraine

In literary criticism, awareness of transmission of tales between British and continental literature tends to encourage a view of some Arthurian narratives as more similar in tone, style, and language than they in fact are.

A Tale of the Rise of Law: Geoffrey of Monmouth’s The History of the Kings of Britain

Decorated initials 'C'(umque) and 'K'(imbelinus) in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia regum Britanniae. Photo courtesy British Library

Geoffrey of Monmouth’s The History of the Kings of Britain is a tale of the rise of law, suggesting that there can be no Britain without law – indeed, that Britain, like all nation-state constructs, was law or at least a complex network of interrelated processes and procedures that we might call law.

Mapping Scottish Identity in the Roman de Fergus

250px-RomanDeFergus

In the Roman de Fergus, a thirteenth-century verse romance in Old French, Guillaume le Clerc considers the consequences of Arthur’s assimilationist expansionism with a more focused attention to cultural difference and personal identity, again centered on the experience of a knight from Galloway, the eponymous

Queen Guinevere. A queen through time

Queen-Guinevere

According to Hopkins, “[Arthur’s] queen, Guinevere, is more elusive, less written about [than Arthur and his knights], and yet has been for centuries a central character playing a critical role in the rise and fall of the Round Table” (6). He goes on by characterizing her as “a key figure in the life of Camelot, this remarkable woman is seen variably as scholar, seductress, warrior, and dignified gentle beauty by the countless artists and writers who have depicted her. Who, then, was Guinevere?” (10) The purpose of this essay is to answer this question by looking at different texts and novels referring to the Queen.

Networking Scribes

Detail of a miniature of a scribe writing the miraculous Gospels of Kildare - Royal 13 B.VIII, f.22

This was the keynote paper given at the Celtic Studies Association of North America Annual Conference at the University of Toronto April 18 – 21, 2013.

Chaucer’s Arthuriana

Guinevere’s marriage to Arthur

The majority of medieval scholars, including Roger Sherman Loomis, argue that the popularity of the Arthurian legend in England was therefore on the wane in the latter half of the fourteenth century; as a result, the major writers of the period, such as John Gower and Geoffrey Chaucer, refrained from penning anything beyond the occasional reference to King Arthur and his court.

Aspects of the English royal succession, 1066-1199: the death of the king

Tomb of William the Conqueror

The death of any ruler in the twelfth century, even if it were expected, caused a considerable amount of shock and disquiet amongst those who were left behind.

Sympathy for the Devil: the legend of Gog and Magog

Depiction of Gog and Magog, horrible giants thought to be ancestors of the Mongols. From Romance of Alexander, Trinity College, Cambridge.

In this discussion I want to consider a similar demonising of the ‘other’ in the form of the giants who were the indigenous inhabitants of Albion before the first civilised settlers arrived

Male Friendship in The Lord of the Rings: Medievalism, the First World War, and Contemporary Rewritings

Frodo and Sam

I would like to present this research about male friendships in the First World War and to discuss how Tolkien’s work reflects what we see in other writers who represented their experiences in the First War

‘In the Beginning’: The London Medieval Graduate Network Inaugural Conference

King's College London - chapel

This is a summary of the The London Medieval Graduate Network Inaugural Conference by Rachel Scott. The conference was held on November 2nd at King’s College London.

The Myth of Merlin and the Men Behind the Legend

Vortigern’s Tower and the Two Dragons - Illumination from an early copy of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae.

Is there a historical basis for the character we know as Merlin?

The Arthur of the chronicles

King Arthur

Even if we cannot accept the claim made by Geoffrey in his introduction that his putative source was ‘attractively composed to form a consecutive andorderly narrative’, he certainly made extensive use ofWelsh genealogies andking-lists.

Many Motives: Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Reasons For His Falsification of History

British Library MS Cotton Claudius B VII f.224, Geoffrey of Monmouth's Prophetiae Merlini.

It is clear to most modern historians who have studied Geoffrey’s Historia that its contents bear little to no resemblance to real events. Even in Geoffrey’s own lifetime many historians condemned the work.

Edward I and the Ritualization of English Royal Round Table Festivals

Edward I

In the Annales Angliae et Scotiae, a chronicle written around the year 1312 by a monk from the abbey of St Albans, there is a description of the wedding ceremonies between King Edward I and Margaret of France, that took place on 10 September 1299.

The figure of Merlin in English literature from the beginnings to 1740

Merlin dictating his prophecies to his scribe, Blaise; French 13th century minature from Robert de Boron's Merlin en prose (written ca 1200).

Merlin’s first appearance in early Welsh poetry as prophet and seer was considerably expanded by Geoffrey of Monmouth who was the first to associate him with the saxon and British kings of England, particularly Arthur.

“Hic Facet Arthurus, Rex Quondam, Rexque Futurus:” The Analysis of Original Medieval Sources in the Search for the Historica King Arthur

The heroic tales of the legendary King Arthur have survived throughout many centuries. Modern society has learned of this celebrated figure through oral and literary tradition, such as the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s pseudo-history Historia Regum Britanniae, Sir Thomas Malory’s romantic epic Le Morte d’Arthur and medieval Arthurian poetry.

Elements of the Arthurian Tradition in Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Both heroes exist to save their people from doom. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, who authored Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) in 1136, Arthur ‘led his troops against the Saxons, who were still making trouble in various parts of the country, and after various vicissitudes he defeated them on a hill outside Bath, wielding a wonderful sword called Caliburn’1 (Ashe, ‘Quest’).

Hidden Manna and the Holy Grail: The Psychedelic Sacrament in Arthurian Romance

Guinevere’s marriage to Arthur

Scholars are generally agreed that Arthurian wonder tales like “Cullhwch and Olwen” must have been widely distributed in Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany in advance of the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Belief in a living Arthur was then in the air.

Women Characters in Arthurian Literature

Queen Guinevere and her maidservants lead a wounded Lancelot to safety. Married to King Arthur, Guinevere’s infatuation with Lancelot was mutual. This tragic love both inspired him to become the greatest knight, and ultimately bought about both their downfalls. Photo courtesy Sotheby's

The main issue, then, is how Arthurian women characters have been portrayed throughout the centuries and the reasons for those particular ways of portrayal.

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