Comparative Literature | King Arthur and His Court
C417 | 1133 | Prof. McGerr
Satisfies COAS Cultural Studies & AHLA, & meets with C611
Stories about King Arthur and his court represent one of the richest
traditions in literature, one that crosses boundaries of historical
period, language, literary genre, and artistic medium. Though we may
read Arthurian narratives without understanding the mythological,
literary, and political forces that shaped them, our appreciation of
these works deepens when we recognize the threads they borrow from the
past and weave into new texts that address new issues.
This course will trace the development of Arthurian literature from
its Celtic roots through its development in medieval European
literature and its reappearance in later literature and film.
Readings for the course will be in modern English and will include
Welsh tales such as "Branwyn Daughter of Lyr" and "How Culhwch Won
Olwen," selections from Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of
Britain, Chétien de Troyes' Knight of the Cart, Wolfram von
Eschenbach's Parzival, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Sir Thomas
Malory's Morte D'Arthur. In addition, we will discuss the ways in
which three modern films adapt Arthurian tradition to their own uses:
Excalibur, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and The Fisher King.
C417: Written requirements include one critical essay (8-10pages),
one hour test, and a final exam.
C611: Written requirements include one research project (20-25 pages),
an abstract for the research project, one short response paper, and
one hour test.