Best Literary Arthurian Criticism in 2022


Arthurian Criticism by Geoffrey of Monmouth

This review of Geoffrey's Arthur examines the literary and historical background of the King Arthur legend. It also examines the work of Thomas of Britain, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and The Lady of Shalott. Dr. Oliver Tearle is a literary critic and lecturer at Loughborough University in England. A previous edition of this review was published in 2010.

Geoffrey's Arthur

The History of the Kings of Britain (Historia regum Britanniae), written by Geoffrey of Monmouth in 1155, has been cited as the first European work to mention King Arthur. Its retelling of the legend paved the way for subsequent medieval Arthurian writers and helped spread the Arthurian legend throughout Europe. Geoffrey's Arthur literary criticism has been a subject of intense debate for centuries, but he remains a key literary figure in the history of English literature.

Many people question Geoffrey's Arthur's date of publication, but many critics agree on the fact that it was written in the 11th century. Geoffrey's Arthur is a powerful epic that is rich in history and literature. Its retelling of Arthur's legend has spawned numerous adaptations of Shakespeare's King Lear. Geoffrey's Arthur literary criticism highlights the importance of identifying the historical accuracy of the epic.

Although Geoffrey acknowledges the mythological nature of the story, he does not make this claim explicitly. He frames the work as an ancient British work and addresses the issue of supposed translations in a manner that conveys no doubt about their historical accuracy. Ultimately, Geoffrey could have warned his readers not to use ancient texts as history sources. However, the text does not warrant any such warning. In fact, Geoffrey's work may even be distorted.

Thomas of Britain

Literature on the legend of King Arthur was not only written by English authors, but also by French, Italian, and Greek writers. Thomas of Britain and Beroul are two notable examples. They both contributed the tale of Tristan and Isolde in verse. While their works share some of the same characteristics, Thomas of Britain's story lacks courtly love and chivalry. These authors were likely influenced by Chretien of Troyes, who wrote a popular version of King Arthur for Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Literature inspired by the legend of King Arthur has been written by countless writers since the early Middle Ages. From Geoffrey of Monmouth to the modern day, the legend has remained popular throughout the centuries. A tomb that commemorates the legendary King Arthur is located at Glastonbury. There, tourists can visit the Arthurian tomb and buy a replica cross inscribed with the name of the king. The legend of King Arthur has also had a huge influence on American culture.

Malory captured Steinbeck's imagination at a young age. The writer's quest to discover the true story of the legend was solved when he was loaned an ancient book. However, some scholars believe that Geoffrey was merely making up most of his history. Despite this, the medieval monarch was excluded from renaissance. During the period of renaissance, the Arthurian myth did not fully awaken until the late eighteenth century.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

'Morte d'Arthur' is a poetic piece composed in blank verse, an unrhymed form of iambic pentameter, to describe the events surrounding Arthur's death. Tennyson attempts to stage a dialogue between Arthur and Bedivere, and it uses a fairy-tale-like pattern of three to tell the story. Three queens are on board a barge with the corps of Arthur.

In this poem, Tennyson addresses the criticism of Arthurian legend, and attempts to draw a connection between these two worlds. Tennyson also attempts to remove Arthur's role as a good king, and instead creates him as an ideal gentleman. Tennyson's Arthurian Criticism explores the moral corruption of the 19th century and Arthur's character as a result of his'moral failings'.

Despite the popularity of the Arthurian legend today, Tennyson devoted considerable effort to researching and writing about it. He visited the legendary locations of Wales and the west country of England, and learned enough Welsh to read original documents. He argued that Arthur was a "grander subject" than the Victorian era, and that his readiness should match the themes that he was presenting. In the end, however, it was Tennyson's dedication to the Arthurian legend that made the Arthurian Criticism such a powerful book.

Despite the literary quality of his Arthurian Criticism, Tennyson's poetry is uneven. Themes like love and loss of childhood are explored through interpolated lyrics. Some of Tennyson's best short poems are attributed to these themes. Several of his most famous works include 'Ode to Memory' and 'Mariana.' These poems include the lines, 'Come down, O maid,' and "the splendour of the castle walls" as well as 'tired tears'.

The Lady of Shalott

The poem is a comment on the life of an artist, and the isolation she experiences. While the reader is not physically present on the island of Shalott, she has an in-depth knowledge of what she is reading and creating. She creates tapestries out of the fragments that she encounters, interpreting them in a filtered way. But the reader must endure this process and bear the burden of metaphor, a task that can be challenging for a poet.

"The Lady of Shalott" addresses these questions by highlighting the gender roles and political self-division of the patriarchal ideology. Through this, "The Lady of Shalott" addresses the idea of growing up by expressing opposition to the subversion of patriarchal values. In this way, the poem serves as an antidote to patriarchal visions of sex, which were ingrained in Victorian society.

Scholars have noted that the novel is relatively light in subject matter, and many have argued that it was highly influential in its time. It is likely that many works of art based on the themes in this poem inspired it. John D. Jump, who published an essay on Tennyson in 1974, wrote that Tennyson's early Arthurian poems were important in creating the pre-Raphaelite school. The poet's early Arthurian poems are often influential for modern readers, and Tennyson's work has been considered a classic by many.

Stewart's The Crystal Cave

Mary Stewart's The Crystal Cave is one of the best-selling novels in the Arthurian legend. Written in 1970, this novel is considered one of the easiest Arthurian novelizations, due to its first-person POV. The reader will learn about Merlin's life and the magic that he performs. Stewart's prose also pays attention to the setting and era.

In his writing, Stewart takes on a vast literary tradition to create an entirely new King Arthur story. While King Arthur tales first appeared in the writings of the sixth century monk Gildas, they continued to pop up throughout Middle Ages literature, even getting involved in French history. Stewart's unique take on the legend challenges the way we think about these stories today. But is the story worth reading? The answer lies in the literary analysis that follows.

The author's evocation of the legend is a revealing element of the novel's dark tone. Victorian Arthurian literature attempted to sanitize its dark elements. But this time, the bleak world of Fifth-century Britain is full of ruthless political intrigue, endless bloodshed in war, gory human sacrifice, adultery, and bastards. As a result, the book's protagonist, Ambrosius, is a rightful heir to the British crown and is amassed an army to battle Vortigern.

Chretien de Troyes

Literature of the thirteenth century reflects a particular ethos. It is a genre that prized truth and vernacular narration. Chretien de Troyes was a court poet attached to the court of the count and countess of Champagne and Philippe d'Alsace. His poems were written as praises for his patrons. These were meant to be spiritually elevating tales.

The Arthurian mythology was the result of the use of ancient Celtic stories, which offered a seemingly inexhaustible resource of material. Chretien de Troyes's romantic narratives explored the disjuncture between appearance and reality. His poems and novels appealed to the clercs' imagination and showcased Chretien's artfulness.

Chretien de Troyes contributed to the Arthurian myth by exploring the psychological effect of love. In addition to transforming Monmouth's portrayal of an unified political order, he explored the psychological impact of love. His contribution to the Arthurian myth helped settle its status as a rich and vibrant universe. And he interacted with a broader international audience.

The romance of Arthurian mythology defined by Chretien exemplified the conventions and motifs of the genre. For example, in his poem "The Maidens of Innsmouth," Arthur gathers his court for an Easter feast and announces the hunt for a white stag. In addition to the stag, Chretien's poems include another knight seeking Guenevere, the Lancelot du Lac.


Katie Edmunds

Sales Manager at TRIP. With a background in sales and marketing in the FMCG sector. A graduate from Geography from the University of Manchester with an ongoing interest in sustainable business practices.

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