A Companion to Arthurian Literature
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This Companion offers a chronological sweep of the canon of Arthurian literature - from its earliest beginnings to the contemporary manifestations of Arthur found in film and electronic media. Part of the popular series, Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture, this expansive volume enables a fundamental understanding of Arthurian literature and explores why it is still integral to contemporary culture.
  • Offers a comprehensive survey from the earliest to the most recent works
  • Features an impressive range of well-known international contributors
  • Examines contemporary additions to the Arthurian canon, including film and computer games
  • Underscores an understanding of Arthurian literature as fundamental to western literary tradition


Helen Fulton is Professor of Medieval Literature in the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York. She has published extensively on medieval Welsh and English literatures and has related interests in language and critical theory, particularly narrative and discourse. Other books which she has edited include Medieval Celtic Literature and Society (2005) and Urban Culture in Medieval Wales (2011).


List of Illustrations viii

Notes on Contributors ix

Introduction: Theories and Debates 1
Helen Fulton

Part I The Arthur of History 13

1 The End of Roman Britain and the Coming of the Saxons: An Archaeological Context for Arthur? 15
Alan Lane

2 Early Latin Sources: Fragments of a Pseudo-Historical Arthur 30
N. J. Higham

3 History and Myth: Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae 44
Helen Fulton

4 The Chronicle Tradition 58
Lister M. Matheson

Part II Celtic Origins of the Arthurian Legend 71

5 The Historical Context: Wales and England 800–1200 73
Karen Jankulak and Jonathan M. Wooding

6 Arthur and Merlin in Early Welsh Literature: Fantasy and Magic Naturalism 84
Helen Fulton

7 The Arthurian Legend in Scotland and Cornwall 102
Juliette Wood

8 Arthur and the Irish 117
Joseph Falaky Nagy

9 Migrating Narratives: Peredur, Owain, and Geraint 128
Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan

Part III Continental Arthurian Traditions 143

10 The "Matter of Britain" on the Continent and the Legend of Tristan and Iseult in France, Italy, and Spain 145
Joan Tasker Grimbert

11 Chrétien de Troyes and the Invention of Arthurian Courtly Fiction 160
Roberta L. Krueger

12 The Allure of Otherworlds: The Arthurian Romances in Germany 175
Will Hasty

13 Scandinavian Versions of Arthurian Romance 189
Geraldine Barnes

14 The Grail and French Arthurian Romance 202
Edward Donald Kennedy

Part IV Arthur in Medieval English Literature 219

15 The English Brut Tradition 221
Julia Marvin

16 Arthurian Romance in English Popular Tradition: Sir Percyvell of Gales, Sir Cleges, and Sir Launfal 235
Ad Putter

17 English Chivalry and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 252
Carolyne Larrington

18 Sir Gawain in Middle English Romance 265
Roger Dalrymple

19 The Medieval English Tristan 278
Tony Davenport

Part V From Medieval to Medievalism 295

20 Malory’s Morte Darthur and History 297
Andrew Lynch

21 Malory’s Lancelot and Guenevere 312
Elizabeth Archibald

22 Malory and the Quest for the Holy Grail 326
Raluca L. Radulescu

23 The Arthurian Legend in the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries 340
Alan Lupack

24 Scholarship and Popular Culture in the Nineteenth Century 355
David Matthews

25 Arthur in Victorian Poetry 368
Inga Bryden

26 King Arthur in Art 381
Jeanne Fox-Friedman

Part VI Arthur in the Modern Age 401

27 A Postmodern Subject in Camelot: Mark Twain’s (Re)Vision of Malory's Morte Darthur in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court 403
Robert Paul Lamb

28 T. H. White's The Once and Future King 420
Andrew Hadfi eld

29 Modernist Arthur: The Welsh Revival 434
Geraint Evans

30 Historical Fiction and the Post-Imperial Arthur 449
Tom Shippey

31 Feminism and the Fantasy Tradition: The Mists of Avalon 463
Jan Shaw

Part VII Arthur on Film 479

32 Remediating Arthur 481
Laurie A. Finke and Martin B. Shichtman

33 Arthur's American Round Table: The Hollywood Tradition 496
Susan Aronstein

34 The Art of Arthurian Cinema 511
Lesley Coote

35 Digital Divagations in a Hyperreal Camelot: Antoine Fuqua's King Arthur 525
Nickolas Haydock

Index 543


"Even so, A Companion to Arthurian Literature is without a doubt a very useful collection of essays with up-to-date guides for reading and a bibliography that students and non-specialists will find very handy." (Besprechungen, 1 January 2011)

"This is a volume which will be of particular use to students and scholars of English-though it will be equally useful, no doubt, to readers from other traditions who need a quick, but scholarly and exhilarating, introduction largely to the English-language Arthur." (Arthuriana, 21 January 2011)

"A must for anyone interested in the many aspects of the Arthurian legend, the book includes abundant references (including to primary sources) that will serve both those approaching this material for the first time and those pursuing complete knowledge of the subject." (CHOICE, 2009)

"If the coverage is impressive, it is matched by the content.... Any library that covers English literature and popular culture will find this a very worthwhile and popular acquisition for a range of student, academic and other interested readers." (Languages and Literature, Autumn 2009)