The Cambridge Companion to the Arthurian Legend
1 May 2010
The Companion outlines the evolution of the legend from the earliest documentary sources to Spamalot and analyses how some of the major motifs of the legend have been passed down in both medieval and modern texts.
“The international team of contributors includes a strong Bristol presence,” explain the editors. Indeed it does. Professor Ronald Hutton, Department of History, opens with a lucid account of the earliest Welsh and Latin sources and the thorny question of Arthur’s historicity, then Ad Putter describes the 12th century when King Arthur acquired both an official biographer and a champion poet, who pioneered a new genre of Arthurian romance, introducing both Lancelot and the Grail. Emeritus Professor John Burrow covers the 14th century when Arthurian writing in English first flourished, and Elizabeth Archibald discusses some playful, ironic and openly critical treatments of the legend, showing that the makers of Monty Python and the Holy Grail are heirs to a long tradition. The final chapter, ‘Arthurian Geography’, is by Drs Robert Rouse and Cory Rushton, who both did their PhDs in the English Department at the University. They focus on the many places in Britain that have been associated with the legendary king over the centuries.
With a map of Arthur’s Britain, a chronology of key texts and a guide to further reading, this volume will itself contribute to the continuing fascination with the King and his many legends.
Cambridge University Press, 2009