ENGL466 - Arthurian Legend

This course is designed to introduce students to the history of Arthurian literature from the Middle Ages to the late nineteenth century. We will begin with a consideration of the "historical" Arthur in the fifth and sixth centuries--the long period of conflict between late Romano-British and early insular Anglo-Saxon cultures--and with a look at the surviving fragments of Welsh Arthurian myth, then move through the first significant discussions of Arthur in English histories of the politically complex twelfth century to a consideration of the great early works of Arthurian literature: Chr├ętien de Troyes' romances, the lais of Marie de France, and the story of Tristan. We will then read selectively from Malory's fifteenth-century compilation of Arthurian lore, the Morte D'Arthur , before concluding with an exploration of the rediscovery of Arthur in the nineteenth century (in forms as varied as Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Twain's Connecticut Yankee ). All readings will be in more or less modern English. Grades will be based on participation, quizzes, short response papers, longer papers, a midterm, and a final exam.


Two English courses in literature or permission of the department.