Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature

Synopsis

Although the legends of Arthur have been popular throughout Europe from the middle ages onwards, the earliest references to Arthur are to be found in Welsh literature, starting with the Welsh-Latin Historia Brittonum which dates from the ninth century. By the twelfth century Arthur was a renowned figure wherever Welsh and its sister languages were spoken.

O. J. Padel proves an overall survey of medieval Welsh literary references to Arthur and emphasizes the importance of understanding the character and purpose of the texts in which allusions to Arthur occur. Texts from different genres are considered together and shed new light on the use which different authors make of the multifaceted figure of Arthur, from the folk legend associated with magic and animals to the literary hero, soldier and defender of country and faith. Other figures associated with Arthur, such as Cai, Bedwyr and Gwenhwyfar, are also discussed.

Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature is an important and revealing contribution to Arthurian studies and will appeal to anyone interested in understanding more about the legends of Arthur and their sources in medieval Welsh tradition.

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