Arthurian Romance: A Short Introduction

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Wiley, Apr 22, 2003 - Art - 182 pages
1 Review
How did the (maybe) historical figure of King Arthur and his totally fictitious knights come to inspire so many stories? And why does Arthurian myth continue to flourish in films today? This witty and accessible introduction takes readers on a quest through the history of Arthurian romance in order to find the answers.


Medieval expert, Derek Pearsall, traces the fortunes of Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, Gawain, Tristan, and the other knights of the round table at the hands of different writers, artists, and film-makers. He follows the evolution of Arthurian romance from the epic form into ballad, drama, elegy, satire, and burlesque, showing how the story has continued to provide a medium through which different cultures could express their highest hopes and contain their deepest fears.

The book consists mainly of readings of the great works of Arthurian romance, from Chrétien de Troyes through Malory to Tennyson and beyond, but also pays attention to manuscript illustrations, tapestries, paintings, and films.

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User Review  - Robert Vigliotti - Goodreads

Insightful and surprisingly lively. Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Derek Pearsall is Gurney Professor of English, Emeritus, at Harvard University and Honorary Research Professor at the University of York. His previous publications include a study of Landscapes and Seasons of the Medieval World (with Elizabeth Salter, 1973), a history of Old English and Middle English Poetry (1977), editions of Piers Plowman (1978) and Chaucer's Nun's Priest's Tale (1983), a critical study of The Canterbury Tales (1985), The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer (Blackwell Publishing, 1992), and Chaucer to Spenser: An Anthology (Blackwell Publishing, 1999).

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