College of Arts and Sciences | King Arthur of Britain: The Once and Future Hero
C103 | 29196 | McGerr, R.
COLL-C 103 29196 King Arthur of Britain: The Once and Future Hero
(McGerr, R.: Comparative Literature) (A & H) (3 cr.)
See Schedule of Classes for discussion section times
Part of Themester 2011: Making War, Making Peace
Who was King Arthur? Does historical evidence for such a king exist,
or is his story pure legend? When and where do the narratives about
him first appear? Is he a conquering hero, someone who works for
peace at home and abroad, or a tragic victim of internal conflict?
What do tales 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 earlier
centuries 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 Morte D'Arthur, Tennyson's
nineteenth-century poem "Idylls of the King," and the
twentieth-century English novel The Once and Future King. Films
studied will be Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974), Excalibur
(1981), and King Arthur (2004).