Arthurian Literature XXIX

Arthurian Literature XXIX

ELIZABETH ARCHIBALD
DAVID F. JOHNSON
Volume: 29
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 256
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt1x71zc
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  • Book Info
    Arthurian Literature XXIX
    Book Description:

    The influence and significance of the legend of Arthur are fully demonstrated by the subject matter and time-span of articles here, ranging from a mid twelfth-century Latin 'vita' of the Welsh saint Dyfrig to the early modern Arthur of the Dutch. Topics addressed include the reasons for Edward III's abandonment of the Order of the Round Table; the 1368 relocation of Arthur's tomb at Glastonbury Abbey; the evidence for our knowledge of the French manuscript sources for Malory's first tale, in particular the 'Suite du Merlin'; and the central role played by Cornwall in Malory's literary worldview. Meanwhile, a survey of the pan-European aspects of medieval Arthurian literature, considering key characters in both familiar and less familiar languages such as Old Norse and Hebrew, further outlines its popularity and impact. Professor Elizabeth Archibald teaches in the Department of English at the University of Bristol; Professor David F. Johnson teaches in the English Department, Florida State University, Tallahassee. Contributors: Dorsey Armstrong, Christopher Berard, Bart Besamusca, P.J.C. Field, Linda Gowans, Sjoerd Levelt, Julian M. Luxford, Ryan Naughton, Jessica Quinlan, Joshua Byron Smith.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-063-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. GENERAL EDITORS’ FOREWORD
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Elizabeth Archibald and David F. Johnson

    The contents of Volume 29 of Arthurian Literature range from a mid-twelfth century Latin vita of the Welsh saint Dyfrig to the early modern Arthur of the Dutch, from Edward III’s waning interest in the Order of the Round Table to the central thematic importance of Cornwall to Malory’s Morte Darthur, and also across much of Europe.

    In the first essay Christopher Berard contends that Edward III’s experience of war during the Crécy campaign changed him from an enthusiastic supporter of the idealized, Arthurian code of knighthood to a proponent of ‘total’ warfare. By contrasting the ways in which the...

  5. LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. I EDWARD III’S ABANDONED ORDER OF THE ROUND TABLE
    (pp. 1-40)
    Christopher Berard

    On Thursday, 22 January 1344, rounding off in grand style a lavish tournament at Windsor Castle, King Edward III of England (r. 1327–1377) swore a ‘corporal oath’ (corporale juramentum) to restore the Order of the Round Table to the same ‘manner and standing’ as that of King Arthur, his legendary predecessor, provided he had the means. Receiving a consimile juramentum to ‘observe, sustain and promote’ the Round Table from the earls and accomplished knights in attendance, Edward III announced that the order’s first meeting would take place during Pentecost, and he commissioned the construction of a grand House of...

  7. II KING ARTHUR’S TOMB AT GLASTONBURY: THE RELOCATION OF 1368 IN CONTEXT
    (pp. 41-52)
    Julian Luxford

    For 350 years, the monument said to contain the bones of King Arthur and Queen Guenevere was an exceptional feature of Glastonbury abbey’s rich topography. Arthur may have been only the 106th ruler in a line of succession from Brutus, but he was the earliest to have a recognized tomb in a realm and a culture obsessed with monarchy and monarchs’ restingplaces.¹ The monument’s presence at the heart of a thriving, often militant institution suggests its enduring value for monastic esprit de corps, over and above the occasional forensic use made of it by kings, historians and polemicists. This value...

  8. III BENEDICT OF GLOUCESTER’S VITA SANCTI DUBRICII: AN EDITION AND TRANSLATION
    (pp. 53-100)
    Joshua Byron Smith

    As one of the few pieces of Welsh literature written outside of Wales, Benedict of Gloucester’s Vita Dubricii holds a curious place in the history of medieval British literature. It chronicles the life of Dyfrig, a Welsh saint who is not only portrayed as an exceptional ecclesiastic and miracle-worker but also as King Arthur’s main spiritual support. A peculiar mix of hagiography and Arthurian history, Benedict’s Vita Dubricii combines two previously separate accounts of the saint – an earlier version of Dyfrig’s life and Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae. The resulting narrative stresses Dyfrig’s sanctity and historical importance by...

  9. IV NEW EVIDENCE FOR AN INTEREST IN ARTHURIAN LITERATURE IN THE DUTCH LOW COUNTRIES IN THE FIFTEENTH AND EARLY SIXTEENTH CENTURIES
    (pp. 101-110)
    Sjoerd Levelt

    The complex of Arthurian stories, from Latin historiography to French romance, was particularly popular in the Dutch Low Countries,¹ and Middle Dutch authors produced a wealth of Arthurian texts – translations, adaptations and original works – in the later thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, transmitted in a small number of manuscripts and numerous fragments from throughout the fourteenth century.² It has been generally thought, however, that the production of new Middle Dutch Arthurian literature ceased altogether by the fifteenth century, as did most new manuscript production of older works.³ The only early known Arthurian printed text in Dutch is a...

  10. V MALORY’S SOURCE-MANUSCRIPT FOR THE FIRST TALE OF LE MORTE DARTHUR
    (pp. 111-120)
    P. J. C. Field

    Malory based the first tale of his Morte Darthur on an unusual version of a very popular romance, the thirteenth-century Old French prose Merlin.¹ The romance falls into two parts. The first, which we may call the Merlin proper, tells the story of Merlin’s life and the wonders he works in a legendary Britain up to Arthur’s coronation, which he is instrumental in bringing about. The second part is a continuation, or Suite, which tells the story of the early years of Arthur’s reign, when he establishes his kingdom, and some of his most famous knights make their reputations. Merlin...

  11. VI MALORY’S SOURCES – AND ARTHUR’S SISTERS – REVISITED
    (pp. 121-142)
    Linda Gowans

    In volume 26 of Arthurian Literature, Jonathan Passaro claimed that Cambridge University Library, Additional 7071 is very likely to be the actual manuscript of the Suite du Merlin used by Malory.¹ Details of the case he makes for the text of the Suite itself form part of the examination by P. J. C. Field in his contribution to the present volume,² and in this article I would like to establish whether Passaro’s findings hold for the earlier part of the Merlin story. The material on which I shall concentrate precedes a division that is not always sufficiently acknowledged in discussion...

  12. VII PEACE, JUSTICE AND RETINUE-BUILDING IN MALORY’S ‘THE TALE OF SIR GARETH OF ORKNEY’
    (pp. 143-160)
    Ryan Naughton

    Sir Thomas Malory’s ‘The Tale of Sir Gareth of Orkney’ (a tale in Le Morte Darthur, c. 1470)² tells the story of Gareth, the youngest of the Orkney brothers, who seeks to prove himself worthy of knighthood through his knightly performances and not simply through his lineage. For this reason, young Gareth hides his identity for much of the romance. Because the youth refuses to reveal his name and lineage when he arrives at the Arthurian court, he is rudely nicknamed Bewmaynes (meaning ‘fair hands’) and is relegated to working in the kitchen – a rather unceremonious beginning to his...

  13. VIII MAPPING MALORY’S MORTE: THE (PHYSICAL) PLACE AND (NARRATIVE) SPACE OF CORNWALL
    (pp. 161-190)
    Dorsey Armstrong

    Thus begins Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur, the most comprehensive, coherent and consecutively-ordered single-author treatment of the Arthurian legend until the modern period. Drawing on multiple French and English sources, Malory re-arranged, de-interlaced and reworked his source material to tell the story of King Arthur from the events surrounding his conception and birth to his death, including the immediate situational aftermath of the realm he had established and the fates of the knights upon whom he had depended. Malory’s text is in many respects contradictory, vexed and divided; a work that seems to celebrate the values of chivalry while simultaneously...

  14. IX THE FRINGES OF ARTHURIAN FICTION
    (pp. 191-242)
    Bart Besamusca and Jessica Quinlan

    In 1980, Beate Schmolke-Hasselmann published her groundbreaking study Der arthurische Versroman von Chrétien bis Froissart.¹ According to its subtitle, the monograph was devoted to the ‘Geschichte einer Gattung’ (the history of a genre) – an indication repeated in the main title of the splendid English translation of the work.² Although The Evolution of Arthurian Romance suggests a broad treatment of Arthurian literature, Schmolke-Hasselmann’s discussion is in fact limited to French texts. This equation of Arthurian literature with French Arthurian literature has been, as is well known, a widespread phenomenon in international Arthurian scholarship until quite recently. Norris Lacy has termed...

  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 243-247)