Arthur. The name conjures mystical images and ideals to this day. This is evident by his continued presence in popular culture since his first literary appearance in the 12th century. Why exactly does the history of a 5th-7th century c.e. Briton leader and the legends that grew up around him still fire our collective imaginations today?
To many, it is the allure of the "brief, shining moment" when the timeless ideals of chivalry were upheld and embodied as literature in ofttimes strange and beautiful prose, poetry and music. Perchance it is the eternal nature of the struggle between good and evil and the promise of an eventual return scribed therein that still speaks to the heart. Maybe it is the fact that these very human characters feel and think much in the way we do now.
Others are drawn to the mystical and magical elements of legends like the Sword in the Stone, characters like the Lady of the Lake and noble endeavours like the Quest for the Holy Grail. Finally, to some, it is the missing history shrouded in eternal mystery, the fact that we may never know the truth about the King and his Knights of the Table Round, that drives them to forge on in study. Read more »
For questions and/or comments concerning Arthurian legend, you can contact the editor of this section, Mr. Brian Edward Rise.
The New Arthurian Encylopaedia (updated paperback edition).
ed. Norris J. Lacy, et al.
Garland Publishing, Inc., New York & London, 1996.
The Arthurian Handbook. Lacy, Norris & Ashe, Geoffrey (eds.). New York & London, Garland, 1988.
Le Morte D'Arthur. Malory, Sir Thomas (~1485). New York, Modern Library, 1999.
The Complete Romances of Chretien de Troyes. Staines, David (trans.). Bloomington & Indianapolis, Indiana Univ. Press, 1990.
The History of the Kings of Britain. Geoffrey of Monmouth (~1136), Thorpe, Lewis (trans.). New York, Penguin Putnam, 1966.
Parzifal. von Eschenbach, Wolfram (~1212), Mustard, Helen M. & Passage, Charles E. (trans.). New York, Vintage, 1961.
The Quest of the Holy Grail (Queste del Saint Graal). Matarasso, P.M. (trans.). New York, Penguin, 1969.
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Editor: Brian Edward Rise
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This section was last updated on March 01, 2011.