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Arthurian Literature

During the Renaissance the popularity of a former alleged king of Britain, King Arthur, grew rapidly. Being as the Tudor line of royalty traced its legitimacy of kingship to King Arthur, it is not surprising Arthurian legend blossomed in this era. Likewise, chivalry, romance, magical science, war, and the battle between pagan and Christian influence are embodied in Arthurian literature. All of these aspects were appealing during the Renaissance, a time when the secular was being promoted over the religious and romance and pagan classical tradition was being reinvented in the arts, sciences, and other spheres of society. According to Koerner, the first official history of King ArthurÆs exploits was not written until the ninth century, 300 years after the he allegedly existed (67). There is no conclusive evidence that the subject of so much literary myth, legend and even history ever existed, but the debate over ArthurÆs existence continues to this day. This analysis will review some of the facets of Arthurian literature over the past 1500 years.

There are numerous books, plays, novels, romances, poems and other literary works devoted to the legend of King Arthur and Camelot. In non-romance works he is generally considered King and even Emperor, a great warrior of the highest chivalry who presided over a legendary group of knights at the Round Table. In romantic versions, the element of King ArthurÆs best knight, Lancelot, and his affair with King ArthurÆs wife, Queen Guinevere, comes into existence. Likewise, romantic versions of the legend and myth embody the search for the Holy Grail, a mythical object that if found would cure all evils. While numerous works are devoted to Arthur, among the more respected or famous authors of his exploits are: Geoffrey of Monmouth, E. B. White, Geoffrey Ashe, Sir Thomas Malory, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and T. H. White. Geoffrey of MonmouthÆs account is presented in a history of Engli...

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Arthurian Literature. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:38, May 25, 2020, from