How did the (maybe) historical figure of King Arthur and his totally fictitious knights come to inspire so many stories? And why does Arthurian myth continue to flourish in films today? This witty and accessible introduction takes readers on a quest through the history of Arthurian romance in order to find the answers. Medieval expert, Derek Pearsall, traces the fortunes of Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, Gawain, Tristan, and the other knights of the round table at the hands of different writers, artists, and film-makers. He follows the evolution of Arthurian romance from the epic form into ballad, drama, elegy, satire, and burlesque, showing how the story has continued to provide a medium through which different cultures could express their highest hopes and contain their deepest fears. The book consists mainly of readings of the great works of Arthurian romance, from Chretien de Troyes through Malory to Tennyson and beyond, but also pays attention to manuscript illustrations, tapestries, paintings, and films.
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Number of pages: 190
Weight: 298 g
Dimensions: 228 x 152 x 10 mm
"In this succinct yet remarkably inclusive book, one of the great English medievalists of our time takes a genuinely European view of the great Arthurian saga. Vastly erudite yet companionable in style, Pearsall succeeds admirably in conveying the pleasures of reading, and in encouraging us to read, the unfolding and unravelling adverntures of Arthur and Guinevere, Lancelot and Merlin." David Wallace, Judith Rodin Professor and Chair, University of Pennsylvania "Pearsall is a a knowledgeable, astute, and witty guide who writes for all those captivated by Arthurian stories. He unravels the tangled web of medieval romance in England, France, and Germany, explores the 'second coming' of Arthurian themes in the romantic revival of the nineteenth century, and shows how the potent mixture of ennobling love, violence, political idealism, chivalry, pathos, tragedy, myth, honour and shame continues to appeal to our present day and age. Pearsall is a seasoned interpreter whose virtuoso readings of the key texts of Arthurian romance, from Geoffrey of Monmouth to Monty Python, will delight and instruct." Peter Brown, University of Kent at Canterbury "The author's mastery of the Arthurian tradition results in a book that is both stimulating and learned." Choice "a book that is, itself, a pleasure to read, both entertaining and erudite. [...] The book's economy and easy-going style should make it appealing to the non-specialist, but Pearsall's scholarly depth and range add a lustre that even the most sophisticated reader will appreciate." MLR