Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Arthur of the English: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval English Life and Literature

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Arthur of the English: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval English Life and Literature

Article excerpt

The Arthur of the English: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval English Life and Literature, ed. W.R.J. Barron, Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages 2 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1999). xvii + 395 pp. ISBN 0-70831477-5. L35.00.

Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages, edited by R. S. Loomis in 19 5 9, became one of the most useful and influential medieval collaborative projects. Time has dated Loomis's great work, and so the Vinaver Trust, established to commemorate another great post-war Arthurian, has undertaken a revision under the general editorship of W. R. J. Barron. The extraordinary growth of scholarship means that the new Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages has expanded beyond its predecessor's single volume. Five volumes have been planned, organized by national cultures (but addressed to students both within and outside each culture), and more are promised.

The Arthur of the English, the second volume of the series, has seven chapters, plus two 'interchapters': `Arthur in English history' by James P. Carley and `Arthur in English society' by Juliet Vale. Three brief survey chapters, `The Celtic tradition' by Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan, `The romance tradition' by Catherine Batt and Rosalind Field, and `The Arthurian legacy' by Chris Brooks and Inga Bryden, are interspersed with chapters that are primarily made up of individual essays on separate works: `Dynastic chronicles' by Barron, Francoise Le Saux, and Lesley Johnson, `Dynastic romance' by Karen Hodder, David Burnley, Johnson, and Carole Weinberg, `Chivalric romance' by Maldwyn Mills, Elizabeth Williams, Flora Alexander, Rosamund Allen, and Barron, and `Folk romance' by Gillian Rogers, Diane Speed, David Griffith, and John Withrington. …

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