Comparative Literature | King Arthur in Literature and Film
C417 | 1232 | Rosemarie McGerr
Time: TR 1-2:15 BH 345
3 credit hours (Fulfills Culture Studies and AHLA requirements.)
MEETS WITH CMLT C611.
Stories about King Arthur and his court represent one of the
richest traditions in Western 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
literatures and its reappearance in later literatures and films.
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, Chrétien de Troyes' Knight of the Cart, Wolfram von
Eschenbach's Parzival, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Thomas
Malory's Morte D'Arthur, selections from Tennyson's Idylls of the
King, and Part I of White's Once and Future King. In addition, we
will discuss the ways in which three modern films adapt Arthurian
traditions to their own uses: Excalibur, Monty Python and the Holy
Grail, and The Fisher King.
Students in C417: one critical essay (6-8 pages) comparing aspects of
two Arthurian texts (at least one of which should come from the Middle
Ages), one hour test, and a final exam.
Students in C611: the hour test, one review of a recent critical essay
on one of our readings (2-3 pages); a research paper (20-25 pages,
including notes and bibliography) comparing aspects of two Arthurian
texts (at least one of which should come from the Middle Ages); and a
proposal for the research paper (2-3 pages, including tentative