The Arthur of the Germans: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval German and Dutch Literature

The Arthur of the Germans: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval German and Dutch Literature

The Arthur of the Germans: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval German and Dutch Literature

The Arthur of the Germans: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval German and Dutch Literature

Synopsis

This volume provides a survey of Arthurian works and themes in medieval German and Dutch literature and also examines pictorial representations of Arthurian topics, the impact of Arthurian motifs on real life, and the revival and adaptation of legends.

Excerpt

When, some years ago, the Vinaver Trust considered revising the standard history of its academic field, Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages (ed. R. S. Loomis, Oxford, 1959), the authors of the opening chapters on Celtic texts were the first to be approached. Their feeling was that the passage of time and the advance of scholarship made necessary a more fundamental revision than was possible within the original single-volume format. The book had served several generations of students well, but the Trustees were persuaded that the time had come for a more fundamental approach to Arthurian literary history.

ALMA, as it appeared in the Abbreviations to a hundred volumes, had reflected its editor's professional interest closely and, even within the limitations of a single volume, given a rather narrow picture of Arthurian studies. Changing perspectives, the accumulation of scholarship and the more flexible technology of publishing now make possible a fuller record. The basis of the volumes listed on p. vi is cultural rather than purely linguistic, as more appropriate to a period when modern nationalism, and in many cases modern nation states, had not yet evolved. Each takes into account extraneous influences and includes some texts which the influence of the mother culture carried into the wider world.

Each volume in the series is primarily addressed to students of the individual culture in question, but also to those of other cultures who, for the appreciation of their own Arthurian literature, need to be aware of the various expressions of the legend. With this dual readership in mind, the volumes aim to present the present state of knowledge as individual contributors see it, concisely expressed and structured in a way which, it is hoped, will help readers to appreciate the development of Arthurian themes within the particular culture. The contributors also address the needs of specialist scholars by discussing current academic controversies, and themselves treating open questions of research.

Within this remit, the editors have had complete control over their individual volumes. They themselves would admit that they have not ensnared that rare bird, the Whole Truth of the Arthurian legend, and that in time a new survey will be needed, perhaps on a different basis. But if, for the moment, they have allowed others to catch a glimpse of that universal phoenix, the Arthurian myth, through the thickets of academic speculation, they will feel that they have done what was presently necessary.

W. R. J. Barron . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.