Arthurian Literature XXIII

Arthurian Literature XXIII

General Editor KEITH BUSBY
Assistant Editor ROGER DALRYMPLE
Volume: 23
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt820cc
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    Arthurian Literature XXIII
    Book Description:

    The essays in this latest volume have a particularly strong focus on English material; they include explorations of Malory's presentation of Sir Dinadan, the connections between ballads and popular romance, and, moving beyond the medieval period, Thomas Love Peacock's 'The Misfortunes of Elphin'. They are complemented by articles on French sources ['L'Atre perilleux', the 'Queste del Saint Graal', and the 'Perlesvaus'], and with an overview of the idea of cowardice and Arthurian narrative. Contributors: ANDREW LYNCH, P. J. C. FIELD, JOYCE COLEMAN, D. THOMAS HANKS JR, RALUCA L. RADULESCU, MARGARET ROBSON, MARTIN CONNOLLY, NORRIS J. LACY, FANNI BOGDANOW, TONY GRAND, ROBERT GOSSEDGE

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-446-1
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. GENERAL EDITOR’S FOREWORD
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Keith Busby

    Vol. XXIII of Arthurian Literature contains a wide-ranging selection of articles dealing with texts from the classical and ‘post-classical’ periods of French romance through Malory’s Arthuriad to Thomas Love Peacock. Andrew Lynch’s amply-documented study of cowardice and Arthurian narrative reveals a subtle and shifting treatment of the theme in works from the twelfth through the fifteenth century. No-one knows the history and sources of Malory’s Morte Darthur better than Peter Field, whose careful examination of the forty knights in Caxton and the Winchester manuscript demonstrates both the potential and limitations of textual criticism. The extraordinary character of Sir Dinadan in...

  4. I BEYOND SHAME: CHIVALRIC COWARDICE AND ARTHURIAN NARRATIVE
    (pp. 1-17)
    Andrew Lynch

    In medieval chivalric narratives, where the central matière is usually armed combat, the issue of actual or potential cowardice often arises. Although it has been suggested, mainly with reference to Froissart’s Chronicles, that fear is ‘the one thing chivalric literature virtually never mentions directly’,² it is quite frequently found in chansons de geste and romances, where there is less need to safeguard the reputation of actual people, and a generally greater narrative freedom exists. I wish to suggest in this essay that the articulation of cowardice, and hence of courage, in some well-known Arthurian works is more complex, more pragmatically...

  5. II MALORY’S FORTY KNIGHTS
    (pp. 18-29)
    P. J. C. Field

    The Rebellion of the Kings episode in the first tale of Malory’s Morte Darthur contains a contradiction. King Arthur and his allies King Ban and King Bors are fighting a battle in which their enemies retreat across a river and prepare to make a stand. The Winchester manuscript then says:

    So furthwith there dressed a fourty knyghtes, and seyde unto the thre kynges they wolde breke theire [i.e., Arthur’s enemies’] batayle, and thes were theire namys: Lyonses, Phariaunce, Ulphuns, Brascias, Ector, Kayus, Lucas de Butler, Gryfflet la Fyse de Deu, Marrys de la Roche, Gwynas de Bloy, Bryaunte de la...

  6. III FOOLING WITH LANGUAGE: SIR DINADAN IN MALORY’S MORTE DARTHUR
    (pp. 30-45)
    Joyce Coleman

    In Antecedents of the English Novel, 1400–1600, Margaret Schlauch hails the ‘courtly realism’ of Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur and, in particular, ‘the comically realistic Sir Dinadan’, whose jokes about his fear of jousting have his listeners laughing so hard they can barely keep their seats.¹ ‘Sir Dinadan, the realist’ (Elizabeth Edwards),² the ‘rational moralist’ ruled by a ‘pragmatic creed’ (Donald Hoffman),³ remains a standard figure of Malorian analysis. Equally standard, however, is the scholarly observation that Dinadan’s humorous cowardice never seriously challenges the ideology of knightly worship. This essay will re-examine Dinadan’s role in Malory, questioning the alleged...

  7. IV WILLIAM CAXTON, WYNKYN DE WORDE AND THE EDITING OF MALORY’S MORTE DARTHUR
    (pp. 46-67)
    D. Thomas Hanks Jr

    Derek Pearsall first pointed out to me that the last four lines of verse in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – thus arguably the last four lines of verse he ever wrote – had been moved about by F. N. Robinson so that Chaucer’s last word prior to the Parson’s Tale is no longer ‘grace’ but is now ‘manere’.¹ I was shocked to learn that Robinson had been so cavalier in his editing.

    Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur has suffered equally great editorial interventions. Like Tom Sawyer washed and dressed for church by Aunt Polly, the edited Morte bears little resemblance to...

  8. V BALLAD AND POPULAR ROMANCE IN THE PERCY FOLIO
    (pp. 68-80)
    Raluca L. Radulescu

    Medieval English popular romance has received increasing attention from academics in recent years, especially with the publication of a number of edited volumes: W. R. J. Barron’s Arthur of the English in 1999, followed by Ad Putter’s and Jane Gilbert’s Spirit of Medieval English Popular Romance in 2000 and Nicola McDonald’s Pulp Fictions of Medieval England in 2004.¹ These group projects display the growth in critical interest in popular romance, an area that editors and contributors to these collections alike deplore as insufficiently explored or sometimes neglected altogether by modern scholarship. As a step towards opening up the debate regarding...

  9. VI LOCAL HERO: GAWAIN AND THE POLITICS OF ARTHURIANISM
    (pp. 81-94)
    Margaret Robson

    On 21 July 1403 the army led by Henry Hotspur was defeated by Henry IV at the Battle of Shrewsbury. Hotspur’s army consisted of Welsh lords, Scotsmen and disaffected English nobles, Hotspur himself and his uncle, Thomas Percy, earl of Worcester. Hotspur died in the aftermath of this battle and the Earl of Worcester was executed two days later. The Battle of Shrewsbury was one of a series of engagements and skirmishes that together comprised the Glyn Dŵr rebellion: between 1400, when he had himself declared Prince of Wales, and 1415, when he makes his final appearance in English records...

  10. VII PROMISE-POSTPONEMENT DEVICE IN THE AWNTYRS OFF ARTHURE: A POSSIBLE NARRATIVE MODEL
    (pp. 95-108)
    Martin Connolly

    Readers and critics of the late medieval Arthurian poem The Awntyrs Off Arthure will inevitably find themselves taking sides in the debate over the success or failure of the poem’s narrative structure. For most of the twentieth century, the poem was widely perceived as something of a failed literary experiment, its moral and secular episodes seen as artlessly juxtaposed rather than linked in any meaningful way.¹ A vigorous debate, beginning properly in the 1970s, has since turned perceptions around, making the present climate much more accepting of the poem’s design.² Curiously, though, while much has been written on the poem...

  11. VIII L’ATRE PERILLEUX AND THE ERASURE OF IDENTITY
    (pp. 109-116)
    Norris J. Lacy

    One of the central preoccupations of most authors of Arthurian romance is the exploration of their protagonists’ chivalric and, in some cases, moral identity. In narrating a knight’s successes and failures, his opportunities and challenges, his adventures and encounters – whether with other knights, with women, or with the Grail – the author is inevitably exploring issues of identity.¹ To a considerable degree, however, that observation is tautological, since the very act of fiction writing, medieval or modern, is virtually synonymous with exploration, in one way or another, of identity. The specificity of the subject in Arthurian terms derives generally...

  12. IX THE THEME OF THE HANDSOME COWARD IN THE POST-VULGATE QUESTE DEL SAINT GRAAL
    (pp. 117-129)
    Fanni Bogdanow

    The Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal, which together with the Post-Vulgate version of the Mort Artu forms the third part of the Post-Vulgate Roman du Graal, was composed between 1230 and 1240, that is, shortly after the Vulgate Cycle of Arthurian romances and the First Version of the prose Tristan (Tr. I) but before the Second Version of the prose Tristan (Tr. II) and the Palamède.¹ Unlike the Vulgate Cycle, the Post-Vulgate has not been preserved in its original French form in any one manuscript, but it has been possible to reconstruct the narrative with the aid of the Portuguese...

  13. X A TIME OF GIFTS? JEAN DE NESLE, WILLIAM A. NITZE AND THE PERLESVAUS
    (pp. 130-156)
    Tony Grand

    Ernst Brügger, writing in 1939,¹ noted that Le Haut Livre du Graal, Perlesvaus² had for long been the Aschenbrödel [Cinderella] among Grail texts, until William A. Nitze commenced his studies of the romance. The work did not become a princess overnight, but Nitze’s studies and edition have provided a basis for more informed study. Since the edition’s publication, there has been a steady stream of critical studies of the romance. Examination of the indices of the Bibliographical Bulletin of the International Arthurian Society since the Society’s formation in 1948 shows that only a very few years have seen no entry...

  14. XI THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK’S THE MISFORTUNES OF ELPHIN AND THE ROMANTIC ARTHUR
    (pp. 157-176)
    Robert Gossedge

    Although there are several comprehensive studies of the mid-nineteenth-century Arthurian revival, critical studies of pre-Tennysonian Arthurian literature are still remarkably few. This is, I believe, for three interrelated reasons. First, there is the absence of any Arthurian text written by a notable English literary ‘star’ of the Romantic period.¹ Second, what literature was produced is difficult to reconcile with the reverent, romantic and ahistorical Victorian use of the legend. The idealized versions of the legend in the work of Tennyson, Morris, Swinburne and the Pre-Raphaelite painters is unrecognizable in the bawdy burlesques, mock epics and satires of the eighteenth and...

  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 177-181)