Camelot in the Nineteenth Century: Arthurian Characters in the Poems of Tennyson, Arnold, Morris, and Swinburne

By Laura Cooner Lambdin; Robert Thomas Lambdin | Go to book overview

Introduction

For centuries, accounts of King Arthur and his court have fascinated historians, scholars, poets, and readers. Legends of this powerful, commanding warrior, who was also the perfect monarch of tragic destiny, probably began as folk stories in Wales and Ireland. The Arthurian story remains with us because it has always been "common property, with no copyright and no prize for originality. Every author is an independent agent, but cannot work without his predecessors: he is a dwarf standing on the shoulders of a cumulative giant" ( R. Morris 4). Each age added aspects that reflected its own cultural attitudes; however, no age supplemented the earlier versions more than the poets writing during the Medieval Revival of nineteenth-century England, a revival that embraced art, architecture, philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, and religion. The Medieval Revival had its origins in the Romantic movement's susceptibility to the beauty and intensity of medieval literature. Before this, between the Middle Ages and the rise of Romanticism, the classical spirit ruled and was by nature alien to medievalism.

The French Revolution brought rapid and frightening changes that conservative England wished to avoid. Post-Napoleonic attitudes toward the Middle Ages began with ideas of a charming, picturesque period stemming from Sir Walter Scott's preoccupation with the period's romantic and historical

-ix-

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Camelot in the Nineteenth Century: Arthurian Characters in the Poems of Tennyson, Arnold, Morris, and Swinburne
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions to the Study of World Literature ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Chapter 1 Arthurian Legends: Origins to the Nineteenth Century 1
  • Notes 11
  • Chapter 2 Alfred Tennyson 13
  • Notes 47
  • Chapter 3 Matthew Arnold 51
  • Notes 68
  • Chapter 4 William Morris 71
  • Notes 103
  • Chapter 5 Algernon Swinburne 107
  • Notes 139
  • Chapter 6 Final Remarks 143
  • Selected Bibliography 147
  • Index 155
  • About the Authors *
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