College of Arts and Sciences | King Arthur of Britain: The Once and Future Hero
E103 | 7744 | McGerr
1:25 PM - 2:15 PM MW
See the 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 twentieth and the
twenty-first centuries. Readings will include the medieval Welsh
tale "How Culhwch Won Olwen," selections from the medieval Latin
chronicle The 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 twentieth-century English novel IU. Films studied
will be Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974), The Fisher King
(1991), and The Mists of Avalon (2001).