King Arthur in Legend and History

Autumn 2019-2020


Christina von Nolcken

We will consider the historical origins of the Arthurian Legend and some of the ways in which it has been reshaped and used in Britain. We will consider first how the legend was treated in the Middle Ages, most importantly by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the twelfth century and Thomas Malory in the fifteenth. Then we will turn to the extraordinary revival of interest in the legend that started with the Victorians and which has continued almost unabated to the present. In our discussions we will consider such matters as the political uses that have been made of the legend as well as some of the reasons for its enduring popularity. We will end with a viewing of the 1975 Film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (Fiction, Pre-1650)