King Arthur, illustration by N.C. Wyeth for the title page of The Boy's King Arthur (1917). Illustration by N.C. Wyeth Early Welsh literature quickly made Arthur into a king of wonders and marvels.
Early Welsh literature quickly made Arthur into a king of wonders and marvels. The 12th-century prose romance Kulhwch and Olwen associated him with other heroes, this conception of a heroic band, with Arthur at its head, doubtless leading to the idea of Arthur’s court.
how arthur was chosen king, and of wonders and marvels of a sword taken out of a stone by the said arthur Then stood the realm in great jeopardy long while, for every lord that was mighty of men made him strong, and many weened to have been king.
CHAPTER V How Arthur was chosen king, and of wonders and marvels of a sword taken out of a stone by the said Arthur. THEN stood the realm in great jeopardy long while, for every lord that was mighty of men made him strong, and many weened to have been king.
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- Arthur The Legend
- The French Poets
- The German Poets
- The English Poets
- Decline & Revival
Whatever shortcomings Geoffrey may have had as a history writer he makes up for in style, imagination, and dramatic pacing. Geoffrey's Arthur comes alive on the page from his first introduction as a naive youth to a mature king and conqueror of vast realms. Geoffrey makes skilled use of dialogue, setting, characterization, symbol, and most importantly, pacing; his narrative never lags, and he is careful to avoid bogging a reader down in too much description. It is not surprising that his book became an international bestseller and set the foundation for all future works involving the figure of Arthur. In Geoffrey's piece, Arthur first takes the form of the legendary hero. His armor and helmet are gold, adorned with the sign of the Virgin, and his weapons are the powerful lance known as Ron and the mighty sword Caliburn. Geoffrey changes the name of Badon Hill to The Battle of the Bath and gives Arthur a specific personal enemy in the Saxon leader Cheldric (later given as Cerdic). Th...
Geoffrey's work was written in Latin, the literary language of the day, and so needed no translation to be read by literate individuals in other countries. There were many of these who were inspired by Geoffrey's account to produce their own; so many, in fact, that those listed below are only the best-known who added the most famous details. By c. 1160 CE Geoffrey's work had been copied by Wace (also known as Robert Wace, c. 1110-1174 CE) of Normandy. Wace translated the work into Old French vernacular but provided much more than a simple translation. Wace's poetry elevated the story as well as adding significant details such as the Round Table, where all the knights of Arthur's court were equal, and a more complete image of the king himself. Wace is also responsible for the famous name of Arthur's sword: he changed the name from Geoffrey's Caliburn to Chaliburn which, when it was translated to English, became Excalibur. The Provencal poet Chretien de Troyes (c. 1130 - c. 1190 CE) o...
The German poet Wolfram von Eschenbach (c. 1170 - c. 1220 CE) took the motif of the quest and created his epic poem Parzival c. 1200 CE in which the central character proceeds on a journey of self-awareness. Wolfram's poem is taken from Chretien's unfinished work and that of Robert de Boron but the characters are more completely developed on every level and the depth of the piece has characterized it as a high point in medieval literaturegenerally and Arthurian texts specifically. Wolfram's work would become the basis for Richard Wagner's later opera of the same name. Gottfried von Strassburg (c. 1210 CE) wrote his Tristan, drawing on the earlier work of Thomas of Britain and Beroul, to create a powerful piece exploring the tension between romantic (courtly) love and personal honor. The love story of Tristan and Isolde and their betrayal of King Mark, although initially having nothing to do with the Arthurian legend, would later be incorporated into it and also influence the depicti...
The Welsh masterpiece, the Mabinogion, is dated to around this time (c. 1200 CE) although the text only exists in copies from the 14th and 15th centuries CE. The Mabinogion is a collection of tales influenced by the poetry of Chretien de Troyes but relies heavily on Celtic lore and mythology. Two of the tales, especially, would lend themselves to the development of the Arthurian legend. The tale of Culhwch and Olwen depicts Arthur as a powerful king presiding over a magical realm, and The Dream of Rhonabwypresents the dreamworld in which Arthur and Ywain play their board game as infinitely more interesting than the dreamer's actual life. This world was then brought to life even more fully by Layamon (c. late 12th/early 13th century CE), a priest of Worcestershire, who was the first to translate Arthur's story into English. Layamon's Brut is a poem of a little over 16,000 lines drawing largely on Wace's work but supplemented by others. Layamon introduced the details of the magical bi...
Although a bestseller initially, the work fell out of favor during the 16th century CE at the height of the Renaissance. Tales of a medieval English king were no longer fashionable reading as works of classical Greek and Latin writers were again made widely available. The Protestant Reformation of the 15th century CE had opened religious belief to greater freedom of interpretation, and the printing press allowed for a greater dissemination of works which had been lost for centuries. Writers such as Plato, Homer, Aristotle, Cicero, Lucretius, and Virgil became popular among the literate elite and, the legend (known as The Matter of Britain) was forgotten. English poet Edmund Spenser (1552-1599 CE) attempted to revive the Arthurian tales in his epic allegorical poem The Faerie Queene (c. 1590 CE) but his Arthur is far too perfect to be interesting. In attempting to make King Arthur a model of Christian virtue and strength, Spenser created a flawless character whose faith in God makes...
- Joshua J. Mark
Arthur wonders if Kay is right, but Guinevere assures him that Kay isn't and Arthur will find the sword as long as he follows his heart. (" The Broken Kingdom ") Years later, Arthur travels with Lancelot and Percival to find the Excalibur in the stone after Merlin prophesies that Arthur is fated to become the realm's ruler by pulling out the sword.
CHAPTER V. How Arthur was chosen king, and of wonders and marvels of a sword taken out of a stone by the said Arthur. THEN stood the realm in great jeopardy long while, for every lord that was mighty of men made him strong, and many weened to have been king.
How Arthur was chosen king, and of wonders and marvels of a sword taken out of a stone by the ... How King Arthur at the request of Sir Gawain concluded to make war ...
Posts Tagged ‘King Arthur’ ... Episode 192: Staff Pick 2015 – There Are No Marshmallows in Camelot by Christian McKay Heidicker is a Cast of Wonders original.