Arthurian Literature XXVII

Arthurian Literature XXVII

ELIZABETH ARCHIBALD
DAVID F. JOHNSON
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 212
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt7zssqx
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  • Book Info
    Arthurian Literature XXVII
    Book Description:

    The influence and significance of the legend of Arthur are fully demonstrated by the subject matter and time-span of articles here. Topics range from early Celtic sources and analogues of Arthurian plots to popular interest in King Arthur in sixteenth-century London, from the thirteenth-century French prose Mort Artu to Tennyson's Idylls of the King. It includes discussion of shapeshifters and loathly ladies, attitudes to treason, royal deaths and funerals in the fifteenth century and the nineteenth, late medieval Scottish politics and early modern chivalry. Elizabeth Archibald is Professor of English, University of Durhaml; Professor David F. Johnson teaches in the English Department, Florida State University, Tallahassee. Contributors: Aisling Byrne, Emma Campbell, P.J.C. Field, Kenneth Hodges, Megan Leitch, Andrew Lynch, Sue Niebrzydowski, Karen Robinson.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-914-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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

    Volume 27 of Arthurian Literature ranges from early Celtic sources and analogues of Arthurian plots to popular interest in King Arthur and chivalry in sixteenth-century London, from the Vulgate CycleMort Artuto Tennyson’sIdylls of the King,and includes discussion of shape-shifters, loathly ladies, attitudes to death and funerals, treason and Scottish politics. In the first essay Emma Campbell discusses commemoration in the Vulgate CycleMort Artu,arguing that the funerary epitaphs described there can only be partial representations of their subjects, just as theMortitself cannot offer full closure to the Arthurian legend. Andrew Lynch also deals...

  4. List of contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. I COMMEMORATION IN LA MORT LE ROI ARTU
    (pp. 1-18)
    Emma Campbell

    Commemoration – insofar as it is a conduit for private remembrance and public mourning – is situated between individual and communal fields of memory and marks their point of overlap. Commemoration is also situated at the intersection of individual and communal in another sense: it incorporates individual life – and death – into the public sphere and provides the means of celebrating it as exemplary. Yet, because of this peculiar status, commemoration poses the problem of what – or whom – one picks out as worthy of memory. As Judith Butler has pointed out, one of the primary functions of commemorative discourse is to designate individuals...

  6. II ‘… “IF INDEED I GO”’: ARTHUR’S UNCERTAIN END IN MALORY AND TENNYSON
    (pp. 19-32)
    Andrew Lynch

    From early on, King Arthur’s ending presented a problem for Arthurian writers of the Middle Ages. Arthur’s warfare abroad, whether in his chronicle march on Rome or romance campaign against Lancelot, is halted by Mordred’s rebellion. Thrown from Fortune’s wheel, he never fully regains ascendancy and his actual ending in (or after) battle is uncertain, a gap in the record. Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote confusingly that Arthur was ‘mortally wounded’ in his last battle, yet that he was taken to Avalon ‘to have his wounds healed’.¹ The twelfth-century Anglo-Norman poet Wace wrote: ‘Merlin said of Arthur, rightly, that his death...

  7. III THE INTRUDER AT THE FEAST: NEGOTIATING BOUNDARIES IN MEDIEVAL INSULAR ROMANCE
    (pp. 33-58)
    Aisling Byrne

    In 1299 Edward I held a great feast to celebrate his second marriage. The king took the opportunity to organize a recreation of the Round Table with selected knights taking on the roles of Arthurian heroes. When the first course had ended a page called for silence and Edward, in the role of Arthur, declared that he desired to hear news before he ate any more. A blood-spattered squire then entered and accused the court and king of cowardice, calling down a curse on them unless they avenged the treatment he had suffered at the hands of the Welsh. The...

  8. IV WHAT WOMEN REALLY WANT: THE GENESIS OF CHAUCER’S WIFE OF BATH’S TALE
    (pp. 59-86)
    P. J. C. Field

    The analogues of Chaucer’sWife of Bath’s Tale(WBT) were classified at the end of the nineteenth century by Clouston and Skeat, who accepted as an analogue any story that told how someone took on a monstrous form and recovered his or her original shape.¹ The subject might be male or female or young or old, and might not even be human.² He or she might have become a dragon, a snake, a crocodile, or a frog, been made so ugly as to seem of another species, or been turned into something spine-chillingly indistinct. They even included a story from...

  9. V MONSTROUS APPETITE AND BELLY LAUGHS: A RECONSIDERATION OF THE HUMOUR IN THE WEDDYNG OF SYR GAWEN AND DAME RAGNELL
    (pp. 87-102)
    Sue Niebrzydowski

    The Weddyng of Syr Gawen and Dame Ragnell,¹ hereafterDame Ragnell,dates from around the middle of the fifteenth century and is a text that excites divided opinion among eminent Arthurian scholars, especially in relation to its comedy. Stephen H. A. Shepherd, himself a supporter of theDame Ragnellpoet’s comedic abilities, provides an overview of this ambivalence; P. J. C. Field describes the verse as doggerel yet notes that its rhythms have a cheerful effect, while Donald B. Sands classifies the poem as a burlesque with deliberate humorous effects that is, nonetheless, the product of an indifferent artist.² A...

  10. VI SPEAKING (OF) TREASON IN MALORY’S MORTE DARTHUR
    (pp. 103-134)
    Megan G. Leitch

    The insistently articulated lexicon that surrounds theMorte Darthur’s numerous references to betrayal communicates a powerful concern with treason and its relationship to the chivalric community. Criticism assessing theMorte Darthur’s key words and concepts has attended to the rhetoric of ideals and their role in discourses of community. Jill Mann provides an inventory of crucial terms central to understanding connections between knights: ‘aventure, worship, body, departe, hole, togidir, felyship’.² Following Elizabeth Archibald’s elucidation of Malory’s ideal of fellowship, recent scholarship has deepened our understanding of how communities within theMorteare shaped.³ These approaches have, however, focused primarily on...

  11. VII LANCELOT OF THE LAIK: A SCOTTISH MIRROR FOR PRINCES
    (pp. 135-178)
    Karen D. Robinson

    Lancelot of the Laik, a fifteenth-century Scottish romance, is uniquely situated within the context of Arthurian romances and the mirrors for princes tradition.¹ A passage within this poem gives direct advice to Arthur dealing with the administration of justice and the need for generosity, advice commonly found within the mirror for princes genre. These texts advised kings on proper behaviour and the governing of their realm and were especially popular from the twelfth century to the fifteenth century throughout Western Europe. Some of the texts used stories of kings from biblical and classical periods as positive or negative exempla for...

  12. VIII PRINCE ARTHUR’S ARCHERS: INNOVATIVE NOSTALGIA IN EARLY MODERN POPULAR CHIVALRY
    (pp. 179-198)
    Kenneth Hodges

    The popular reception of King Arthur in the early modern period did not depend solely on texts. While Edmund Spenser ensured that King Arthur would play a role in early modern England’s literary high culture even as historians debated his historicity, there is evidence that Arthur remained important more popularly, not just as entertainment but as a way of expressing the martial and social aspirations of a broad class of society. Prince Arthur’s Archers, a group of London archers who assumed Arthurian identities, flourished. The ease with which they adapted Arthurian materials for their own use shows the continued vitality...

  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 199-203)