ENGL 2163 - Kevin Whetter

Arthurian Legend

The legend of King Arthur provides the basis of some of the most popular and enduring stories to emerge from the Middle Ages. Arthurian tales and myth dominate mediaeval culture, history, and literature in each of the principal languages and countries of Europe. Arthur’s popularity has, if anything, only increased in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, where the spate of new Arthurian fiction, films and television continues unabated. All of these modern versions of the legend, however, are in dialogue with one or more of their mediaeval predecessors. 
English 2163 focusses on a number of foundational mediaeval Arthurian texts from Wales, France, and England. (The Welsh, Latin, and French texts will be read in translation). The course has two principal aims: to introduce you to the mediaeval Arthurian Legend, and to help you further to develop and hone your critical, analytical, reading and writing skills, making you more self-reflective readers and writers. Thus, the course will be assessed by a combination of written material, a final examination, and (oral) participation.

Although the final reading list is subject to change, we will likely be examining the following texts: Culhwch and Olwen; extracts from The History of the Kings of Britain; Chrétien de Troyes’ Story of the Grail and Knight of the Cart; and extracts from Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur.

Probable Texts:
The Mabinogion. Trans. Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones. Rev. Ed. London: Dent, 1993.
Geoffrey of Monmouth. The History of the Kings of Britain. Ed. and Trans. Michael A. Faletra. Peterborough: Broadview, 2008.
Chrétien de Troyes. Arthurian Romances. Trans. D. D. R. Owen. Rev. Ed. London: Dent, 1993.
Sir Thomas Malory. Le Morte Darthur. Ed. Stephen H. A. Shepherd. New York: Norton, 2004.