English R1B

Reading and Composition: The Once and Future King

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
10 Fall 2006 Andrea Lankin
TTh 3:30-5 204 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Selections from Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain. Ca. 1134. Ed., trans. Lewis Thorpe. London: Penguin Books, 1966. Repr. 1977.

Malory, Thomas. Le Morte D�Arthur: The Winchester Manuscript. Ed., abridged by Helen Cooper. Oxford World�s Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Idylls of the King. 1859-1885. Ed. J. M. Gray. Penguin Classics, 1989.

Mark Twain. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur�s Court. 1889. Ed. Bernard L. Stein. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1979.

T. H. White. The Sword in the Stone. In The Once and Future King. 1958. Ace, 1987.

Mary Stewart. The Crystal Cave. 1970. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

Selections from Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon. 1982. Del Rey. Repr. 2001.

Joseph Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Sixth edition. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2003."


"Certain narratives, endlessly told and retold, altered and reshaped, have kept audiences fascinated for a very long time. The story of the sixth-century British warrior-king Arthur has been enormously popular for at least eight hundred years, if not longer. In every successive version of the Arthurian narrative, Arthur has changed in accordance with the society that wrote and read about him. As a class, we will be investigating how and why these changes progressed.

This class will begin with two of the most influential medieval and early modern Arthurian texts, Geoffrey of Monmouth�s twelfth-century History of the Kings of Britain and Thomas Malory�s fifteenth-century Le Morte D�Arthur, and then move to nineteenth- and twentieth-century portrayals of Arthur and his kingdom. We will consider the following questions, among others: How are individual treatments of the Arthurian narrative in dialogue with each other? How does each variant respond to cultural stresses from the time and place in which it was produced? What is it that makes Arthur and his kingdom so compelling?

This is a reading and composition course, and as such will involve a substantial amount of writing work. Along with weekly short writing assignments and writing exercises, there will be two longer research papers (5-6 pages and 8-10 pages) which students will write and revise over the course of the class. The first paper will focus mainly on primary texts, while the second paper will involve at least three secondary sources. Students, in consultation with me, will choose their own paper topics. "

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