Being a student of mythology and folklore, I want to ask if the development of the Arthurian Legend from Mallory to "Camelot" could serve as a basis for a course outline?The King Arthur legend...

Being a student of mythology and folklore, I want to ask if the development of the Arthurian Legend from Mallory to "Camelot" could serve as a basis for a course outline?

The King Arthur legend touches on other legends such as the Holy Grail and the Fisher King and as the centuries pass, Arthur's character changes from a pagan warlord to a Christ figure (and a cuckold husband).  Is he as vibrant and vivid now as he was in the past?

Asked on by gcarden498

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meethinks | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

This is an outstanding question.

To your point: yes..."ish."

The development of the Arthurian Legend is a veritable backbone of heroic Western literature. Accordingly, tracing the origins and evolution of these iconic figures and their respective incorporation into the broader, all-encompassing "Camelot" umbrella would undoubtedly prove to be a field worth several months -- if not years -- of study.

With that said, however, I believe that the current scope of your existing question is simply to narrow. In order to properly address all of the related source material(s) that pertain to the Arthurian legends, you will likely need to begin your field of study at least three centuries prior to Mallory's work. I would suggest using the writings of Chrétien de Troyes (12th century) as the starting point of your inquiry, then moving through the Merlin source texts and related writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth (12th century) before and likewise paying due critical attention to such 14th century works as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Similarly, you might also consider a brief foray into courtly love poetry and medieval texts pertaining to the chivalric code. In spite of the rather questionable historical authenticity of these behavior norms, the very spectre of their existence does -- unquestionably -- go a long way in shaping much of the content of the modern Arthurian legends.

Thereafter, the Mallory texts will provide more than ample grounds for study, and I believe your line of inquiry will be all the more informed and all the more enriched by virtue of having first examined the source texts that helped bring Mallory's work to bear.

Best of luck in this noble effort!

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