English 100

Junior Seminar: Arthurian Legends

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
15 Fall 2006 Nolan, Maura
Nolan, Maura
TTh 2-3:30 259 Dwinelle
Other Readings and Media

J. Wilhelm: Romance of Arthur, Arthurian Handbook; Chretien de Troyes: Arthurian Romances; M. Borroff, trans.: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; T. Malory: Morte Darthur


In this course, we will read, discuss, and write about the medieval Arthurian tradition, starting with its origins in Latin accounts of English history and continuing through the fifteenth century. We will also examine contemporary representations of King Arthur and the Round Table. Our goals will be threefold: first, to gain a knowledge of the most crucial Arthurian texts and to observe the way in which the tradition develops over time; second, to accumulate a body of writing about those texts which engages a series of critical questions; and third, to consider the relationship of literature to history and to culture. Why do people write and read stories like the Arthurian legends? Did people in the Middle Ages read them for the same reasons we do? What do the fantasy narratives of a society tell us about its culture, its values, its ideals, and its problems?

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