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ENG 451 Medieval British Literature (King Arthur: Origins and Derivatives): Home

Resources of interest as you explore medieval British literature and the Arthurian legend


King Arthur, in minature from the Flores Historiarum. 13th century. Chetham MS 6712 (A.6.89), fol. 53
This scan from
  Matthew Paris [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Course Description

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table often constitute a modern person's first exposure to "medieval" culture; however, contemporary renderings of King Arthur are far different from their medieval predecessors. In this class, we will first explore the origins of the Arthurian legend and the many political and artistic Arthurs invented by historians and poets in the Middle Ages. Our two core readings will be Geoffrey of Monmouth's pseudo-historical rendering of King Arthur in the Historia Regum Britanniae and Sir Thomas Malory’s romantic rendering of the monarch in his Le Morte D'Arthur. In addition, we will read major derivative works from this tradition including The Alliterative Morte Darthur, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chrétien de Troye’s The Knight of the Cart, and Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur. Methodologically, students will be introduced to the scholarship of textual criticism with an emphasis on textual comparison and manuscript variants as facilitated by digital resources and tools.

Companion to Arthurian Literature

Oxford English Dictionary


Subject Guide

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Elizabeth Parang
Pepperdine University Libraries
24255 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90263

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