This collection provides an innovative and wide-ranging introduction to the world of Arthur by looking beyond the canonical texts and themes, taking instead a transversal perspective on the Arthurian narrative. Together, its thirty-four chapters explore the continuities that make the material recognizable from one century to another, as well as transformations specific to particular times and places, revealing the astonishing variety of adaptations that have made the Arthurian story popular in large parts of the world.
Divided into four parts—The World of Arthur in the British Isles, The European World of Arthur, The Material World of Arthur, and The Transversal World of Arthur — the volume tracks the legend’s movement across temporal, geographical, and material boundaries. Broadly chronological, each part views the unfolding Arthurian story through its own lens, while temporal and geographical overlaps between the sections underscore the proximity of these developments in the legend’s history.
Ranging from early Latin chronicles and Welsh poetry to twenty-first century anime and political conspiracies, this comprehensive and illuminating book will be of interest to anyone researching Arthurian literature or tracing the evolution of medievalism through literature, the visual arts, and popular culture.
Table of Contents
PART I: The World of Arthur in the British Isles
1 King Arthur: Hero or Legend?
P. J. C. Field
2 The Invention of Arthurian Britain: Arthur in the Early Welsh Literary Tradition
3 Arthur Among the Nine Worthies
Audrey Martin and David Mason
4 Prophecy and Place in the Arthurian Tradition
5 Spenser, Malory, and Regionalism in Arthurian Literature
6 The Post-medieval Arthur at War
7 The Arthurian Legends in the Sixteenth Century: The Misfortunes of Arthur and The
8 "what’s past is prologue" – Early Modern Explorations of Arthurian Romance and
Shakespeare’s The Tempest
9 Victorian Medievalisms: Rehabilitating Arthur in Eleonora Louisa Hervey’s The Feasts of Camelot
10 Staging Guenevere’s Maternity in Richard Hovey’s The Marriage of Guenevere and The
Birth of Galahad
PART II: The European World of Arthur
11 The Byelorussian Tristan
Milica Spremić Končar
12 Continuity and Discontinuity in the Irish Arthurian Romances
13 No Country for Young Men: The Challenge of the Medieval Greek Old Knight
Thomas H. Crofts
14 A Not-So-Unique Text: Melekh Artus and Medieval Jewish Arthurian Romance
15 Viduvilt: The Yiddish World of Arthur
16 No Knights, No England, No Arthur: Arthurian Theater in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Germany
17 Guiron le Courtois Across Borders: The Life of a Prose Narrative Cycle
18 Optical Illusion, Illusory Objects, and the Quest of the Holy Grail in the Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal and Perlesvaus
PART III: The Material World of Arthur
19 Making and Illustrating Arthurian Manuscripts
20 Sir Palamedes the Indelibly "Saracen" Knight: Heraldry, Monstrosity, and Race in Fifteenth-Century Arthurian Romance Manuscripts
Tirumular (Drew) Narayanan
21 Minding the Gaps: Topology and Gender in the Remediation of Medieval German Arthurian Romance
22 Arthurian Imagination in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century British Art
Peter N. Lindfield
23 Finding Arthur in the Percy Folio
24 A History of Malory’s Morte Darthur in Print
25 A Grave Discovery? Guinevere’s Death and Burial at Amesbury in Medieval and Early
PART IV: The Transversal World of Arthur
26 The Arthurian Legends in America
27 In the Ancient Days of Sagas: Astrid Lindgren and the Legacy of Arthurian Romance
28 "Hail to the king[s], baby": Arthur vs Army of Darkness
Jeff Massey and Tabitha Ochtera
29 Arthur in Modern Fantasy Literature
30 Cinema Arthuriana and the Knights of the Not-So-Round Table
Kevin J. Harty
31 The Grail is in Another Castle: The World of Arthur in Digital Games
32 Desire and the Flexible Grail: The Japanese Fate Franchise and Evolving Notions of
E. L. Risden
33 "Moor" and "Saracen" in Medieval and Contemporary Arthurian Texts
34 Guy Ritchie, King Arthur, and the Great Conspiracy
Andrew B. R. Elliot
Victoria Coldham-Fussell is a Research Ethics Adviser for Victoria University of Wellington—Te Herenga Waka. Her research focuses on renaissance humor and the work of Edmund Spenser. She is the author of Comic Spenser: Faith, Folly, and The Faerie Queene (2020), co-author of the Oxford Bibliographies article 'Edmund Spenser' (2017), and contributor to Conversatio—In the Company of Bees (2021).
Miriam Edlich-Muth holds the Chair of Medieval English and Historical Linguistics at the University of Düsseldorf, Germany.
Renée Ward is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of Lincoln, UK, and co-editor of The Year’s Work in Medievalism.