Academic journal article Arthuriana

Eminent Arthurian: Geoffrey Ashe

Academic journal article Arthuriana

Eminent Arthurian: Geoffrey Ashe

Article excerpt

Geoffrey Ashe is among our most eminent Arthurian scholars. That stams has been recognized in many ways and places. Most notable were his inclusion in the Queen's New Year's list of Honours and his recent investimre at Buckingham Palace. The honour was an MBE, Member [of the Most Excellent Order] of the British Empire. The MBE states 'Historian: For Services to Heritage.'

Many Arthurian scholars and students first became acquainted with Geoffrey through his King Arthur's Avalon and The Quest for Arthur's Britain, the latter of which, in 1968, offered to many of us our first real information, apart from journalistic reports, on the Cadbury/Camelot project. Further, some of us who are no longer young had the privilege of hearing and meeting him at the Cardiff Arthurian Congress (1969), when he offered a masterly presentation of the Cadbury excavations and a lucid and balanced assessment of the likely implications of that project. Since that time his contributions to Arthurian history, archaeology, and literature have continued unabated. What most Arthurians may not know is that he wrote widely on subjects other than Arthur: he published books on Gandhi, the voyage of St. Brendan, Israel, labyrinths and mazes, and others, including a novel titled The Finger and the Moon.

In 1984 Gary Kuris, Vice-President of Garland Publishing, invited me to edit an Arthurian encyclopedia; I replied that I could do so only with several associate editors. Fortunately, the four whom I invited all accepted the challenge, and Geoffrey Ashe took on history, archaeology, and some chronicles. The material he delivered was puncmal, thorough and knowledgeable in content, and clear and polished in style.

Once The Arthurian Encyclopedia was published, Gary Kuris invited me to undertake a volume that would become The Arthurian Handbook. For this volume, Garland preferred that I work alone or with a single co-author rather than the larger number needed for the earlier volume. …

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