The Tradition of King Arthur: The Grail in Legend and Film

The Tradition of King Arthur: The Grail in Legend and Film

By David Staines

SMART: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, Vol. 1:2 (1990)

Richard Harris in Camelot (1967)

Introduction: It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that the Arthurian legends are the greatest of all myths. Their depiction of the rise and fall of King Arthur’s ideal order and its embodiment in the Round Table has survived for nearly a millennium.

Although courses on Arthurian literature proliferate in college and universities, and in high schools, too, courses are exploring the realm of Camelot, most students are introduced to Arthurian myth, not in the classroom, or in books, but in films. Contemporary cinema necessarily provides a significant and appropriate complement to courses in the legends of King Arthur.

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We thank the editors of Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching for their permission to republish this article.

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