How and why have material things (manuscript illuminations, printed books, turf-cut chalk drawings, elaborate costumes, immense figures in papier-mâché, oak, wicker, and even latex) preserved and embellished the memory of this foundation myth, alongside centuries of destruction, ridicule, indifference, and misunderstanding?
This article proposes to discuss the extent to which medieval sources differentiate between an idea of applied technological knowledge, which could be close to our modern notion of science, and actual magic.
I would like to suggest that an open-minded approach to a reading of the Historia Regum Britanniae shows that Geoffrey does not entirely deserve his reputation.
This project documents and analyzes the gendered transformation of magical figures occurring in Arthurian romance in England from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries.
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?
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.
This study focuses on the question of how Mordred comes to be portrayed as a traitor within the British Arthurian context.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’).