Friday, December 02, 2011

The Never-ending Stories: Arthurian Literature

AbeBooks: The Never-ending Stories: Arthurian Literature: There are few genres with as much staying power as Arthurian literature. It began around 830 (but Arthur may have been mentioned by a Welsh poet even earlier than that) and these classic tales are still going strong today. King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Merlin the wizard, Mordred, Morgan le Fay, Lancelot, Tristan, Galahad, Gawain and the knights of the round table have legendary status in literature.

Hundreds of books and millions of words have been written about these people and their trials and tribulations, and that’s just the fiction. The Arthurian ball started rolling when a monk wrote Historia Brittonum for a Welsh king. This early history book of England and Wales mentions Arthur, and then Geoffrey of Monmouth took the stories and added his own flourishes in Historia Regum Britanniae around 1136.

It was then a free for all with anyone who could write (and not many could) retelling these stories. The strange thing is that these stories about a Welsh-English warrior king, his wife, his knights and a wizard became an international bestseller. The stories were picked up and retold in France, Germany and Scandinavia and beyond.

Lots more at the link.

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