Honors | King Arthur of Britain (COLL)
E103 | 27179 | Rosemarie McGerr
Lecture MW 2:30-3:20pm
Discussion W 1:25-2:15pm
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.