The Use of Arthurian Legend in Hollywood Film: From Connecticut Yankees to Fisher Kings

By Rebecca A. Umland; Samuel J. Umland | Go to book overview

2
The Arthurian Legend as Intertextual Collage

Now what a radical reversal of things this was; what a jumbling together of extravagant incongruities; what a fantastic conjunction of opposites and irreconcileables -- the home of the bogus miracle become the home of a real one, the den of a medieval hermit turned into a telephone office!

-- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Chapter 24, "A Rival Magician"

Every narrative discourse consists, not of one single code monolithically utilized, but of a complex set of codes the interweaving of which by the author . . . attests to his talents as an artist, as master rather than servant of the codes available for his use. Whence the "density" of such relatively informal discourses as those of literature and poetry as against those of science. . . . At the same time . . . the artistic text . . . directs attention as much to the virtuosity involved in its production as to the "information" conveyed in the various codes employed in its composition.

-- Hayden White, "The Question of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory"

Films that use elements of the Arthurian legend arguably trace their roots back to French film pioneer Georges Méliès ( 1861-1938), a magician who was also an early artist working in film. Méliès was among the first to exploit the film medium's potential for the fantastic, as opposed to the Lumière brothers' interest in the documentary recording of everyday life. Méliès's first films date from 1897, and he was the first to translate into cinematic representations certain noted works in science fiction, such as fellow Frenchman Jules Verne 1865 novel De la terre à la lune (filmed as Voyage dans la Lune). His is an important contribution to the history of science fiction in that he was translating the genre

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The Use of Arthurian Legend in Hollywood Film: From Connecticut Yankees to Fisher Kings
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1 - The Mythopoeic Nature of the Arthurian Legend and Its Methods of Transmission 1
  • Notes 17
  • 2 - The Arthurian Legend as Intertextual Collage 21
  • Notes 69
  • 3 - The Arthurian Legend as Hollywood Melodrama 73
  • Notes 100
  • 4 - The Arthurian Legend as Forms of Propaganda 105
  • Notes 127
  • 5 - The Arthurian Legend as Hollywood Epic 129
  • 6 - The Arthurian Legend as Postmodern Quest 153
  • Notes 182
  • Filmography 187
  • Bibliography 193
  • Index 199
  • About the Authors *
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