COLL-E 103 14226 King Arthur of Britain The Once and Future Hero (McGerr) (A & H) (3 cr.)

2:30 PM 3:20 PM MW

See Schedule of Classes for discussion section times Who was King Arthur? When and where do the narratives about him first appear? Is he a conquering hero or a tragic victim of internal conflict? What do the narratives of King Arthur have to do with the quest for the Holy Grail? What mythological, literary, and political forces have shaped representations of King Arthur in the past and in our own times?

This course examines major narratives about King Arthur from medieval Europe and compares them to some of the representations of King Arthur in the literature and films of the 20th and the 21st centuries. Readings will include the medieval Welsh tale "How Culhwch Won Olwen," selections from the medieval Latin chronicle History of the Kings of Britain, the medieval French tale The Knight of the Cart, selections from the medieval German tale Parzival, the medieval English tale Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the 20th-century English novel The Sword in the Stone. Films studied will be Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974), The Fisher King (1991), and The Mists of Avalon (2001).

Students will answer study questions to prepare for discussion section, write two comparative essays (3-4 pages each) on the readings and films, and take midterm and final examinations.