The Company of Camelot: Arthurian Characters in Romance and Fantasy

The Company of Camelot: Arthurian Characters in Romance and Fantasy

The Company of Camelot: Arthurian Characters in Romance and Fantasy

The Company of Camelot: Arthurian Characters in Romance and Fantasy

Synopsis

This book deals with the eight major figures in the Arthurian legends and how they have been individually represented in literature from its beginnings up to the present day. The characters discussed are: Arthur the king, his queen Guenevere, his wizard Merlin, his half-sister Morgan le Fay, his faithful seneschal Sir Kay, his warrior nephew Gawain, his knight and rival Lancelot, and his incestuous son and nemesis Mordred. These characters are first identified in terms of their medieval origins, then explored in their varied depictions in modern fantasy fiction. The pattern that emerges is largely one of polarization of personality. The first study of Arthurian materials to focus specifically on the characterization of individuals, this book also achieves an original perspective on the evolution of individual characters from mythic prototypes.

Excerpt

The Company of Camelot was conceived over lunch. When the authors met occasionally for lunch, our conversation frequently turned to one of our favorite subjects, the Arthurian legends. Both of us had given papers concerning the Arthurian materials at scholarly conferences, particularly the Medieval Forum and the Popular Culture Association, and we enjoyed sharing these experiences. As we discussed our presentations, we were repeatedly struck by the virtual absence of criticism on the specific subject of characterization in the major figures of the legends. We diligently did our homework, concluding that a book dealing with character analysis of these figures in both medieval romance and modern fiction would fill a gap in an otherwise crowded realm of Arthurian scholarship.

We sincerely hope that readers will be neither frustrated nor disappointed about a frustrating and a disappointing feature of any study dealing with the company of Camelot. The frustrating feature is the spelling of the characters' names. Having driven our spell-right word processors out of their electronic minds, we can well appreciate the readers' confusion over Guenevere and Guinevere, Kay and Cei . . .

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