Brut Analysis

Places Discussed (Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*England

*England. Provides the overall setting for Brut, which is the story of the kings of England from the supposed first English king, Brut, through one of the most legendary English kings, Arthur. Since this work focuses mainly on the story of Arthur, such Arthurian settings as Cornwall; Tintagel Castle, where Arthur was born; and Camelot, the site of Arthur’s court, supply the locales for the events illustrating Arthur’s rise to power and the development of the code of chivalry and the brotherhood of the Round Table. Layamon also recounts Arthur’s battles and victories in France, Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark. As do most versions of the Arthur story, Brut concludes with Arthur’s fatal battle with his son Modred at Camelford and his being spirited off to the mystical island of Avalon, where he will stay until he is again needed in England.

Brut Bibliography (Great Characters in Literature)

Garbaty, Thomas J., ed. Medieval English Literature. Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath, 1984. A full study of Old and Middle English poetry with great emphasis on Arthurian legends. Presents Brut without translation.

Layamon. Brut. Translated by Rosamund Allen. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992. A very clear translation with well-developed notes and a good introduction. Contains a complete bibliography.

Layamon. Layamon’s “Brut”: A History of the Britons. Translated by Donald G. Bzdyl. Binghamton: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1989. A fine prose translation with good explication and a complete index.

O’Neal, Michael. King Arthur: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, Calif.: Greenhaven Press, 1992. A good primer for students of the Arthurian legends. Presents conflicting theories with both legend and historical evidence.

Wilhelm, James J., ed. The Romance of Arthur. New York: Garland, 1994. Prose and poetry translations of Arthurian tales, including parts of Brut and all of Layamon’s source material.