Featuring three original and 14 classic essays, this volume examines literary representations of women in Arthuriana and how women artists have viewed them. The essays discuss the female characters in Arthurian legend, medieval and modern readers of the legend, modern critics and the modern women writers who have recast the Arthurian inheritance, and finally women visual artists who have used the material of the Arthurian story. All the essays concentrate interpretation on a female creator and the work. This collection contains a useful bibliography of material devoted to female characters in Arthurian literature.
Author: Elizabeth Archibald
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2009-09-10
Genre: Literary Criticism
For more than a thousand years, the adventures of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table have been retold across Europe. They have inspired some of the most important works of European literature, particularly in the medieval period: the romances of Chrétien de Troyes, Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. In the nineteenth century, interest in the Arthurian legend revived with Tennyson, Wagner and Twain. This 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. With a map of Arthur's Britain, a chronology of key texts and a guide to further reading, this volume itself will contribute to the continuing fascination with the King and his many legends.
This book is the first systematic study in decades of Malory’s development of his characters in the Morte Darthur. Focusing on sixteen key figures in the most important medieval English treatment of the Arthurian saga, it examines Malory’s thematic characterization of individual rulers, knights, and ladies in keeping with the twin trajectories of his history of the Round Table and fifteenth-century English history. Looking at how Malory develops his characters as exemplars of kingship, knighthood, and womanhood, the book traces the medieval author’s exploration of the values constituting chivalry as embodied in individual characters, a process that enabled him to formulate a vision of those values for his own troubled period of the Wars of the Roses. This book further explores the contribution Malory’s art of characterization makes to the literary and aesthetic power of the Morte Darthur. Each chapter’s focus on individual characters makes the book not only an integrated thematic overview, but also a useful reference for focused study of particular Arthurian figures. As such, the book is designed to meet the interests and needs of both professional scholars and students of Arthurian and medieval literature.
Offering a new reading of Malory’s famed text, Le Morte Darthur, this book provides the first full-length survey of the alterations Malory made to female characters in his source texts. Through detailed comparisons with both Old French and Middle English material, Siobhán M. Wyatt discusses how Malory radically altered his French and English source texts to create a gendered pattern in the reliability of speech, depicting female discourse as valuable and truthful. Malory’s authorial crafting indicates his preference for a certain “type” of female character: self-governing, opinionated, and strong. Simultaneously, the portrayal of this very readable “type” yields characterization. While late medieval court records indicate an increasingly negative attitude towards female speech and a tendency to punish vociferous women as “scolds,” Malory makes the words of chiding damsels constructive. While his contemporary writers suppress the powers of magical women, Malory empowers his enchantress characters; while the authors of his French source texts accentuate Guinevere’s flaws, Malory portrays her with sympathy.
This volume focuses on women's literary history in Britain between 700 and 1500. It brings to the fore a wide range of women's literary activity undertaken in Latin, Welsh and Anglo-Norman alongside that of the English vernacular, demanding a rethinking of the traditions of literary history, and ultimately the concept of 'writing' itself.
A substantial introduction traces the Tristan and Isolde legend from the twelfth century to the present, emphasizing literary versions, but also surveying the legend's sources and its appearance in the visual arts, music and film. The nineteen essays are a mix of new, new English, revised, and 'classic'. It contains an extensive bibliography.