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EN242 Arthurian Literature and its Legacy

This module is a Pathway Approved Option under the English Pathway and a Distributional Requirement for all other Pathways.

2016/17 module tutor: Dr Marco Nievergelt

2016/17 - seminars: Wednesday 9:30 - 11:00 Room G03 and Thursday 16:00 - 17:30 Room H203.


Objectives: The module will explore the evolution of Arthurian myth from the mid twelfth up until the mid fifteenth centuries. Several major works from Middle English literature will be studied in their original language, along with French, German and Latin works in modern translation. In studying these texts particular attention will be paid to the following topics: the nature of different national responses to the myth of British imperialism, the representation of women, the literary construction of knighthood, and the way in which the medieval church attempted to regulate and redirect the chivalric ethos. The last 6 weeks of the module will examine the characteristics of the Arthurian revival in Victorian and twentieth-century Britain.

Outline Syllabus: Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain; Chretien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances; Gottfried von Strassburg, Tristan; Gawain Romances; The Quest of the Holy Grail; Sir Thomas Malory; Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King; William Morris; A.C. Swinburne; Mark Twain; John Masefield; T.H. White and Mary Stewart.

Method of assessment: Two x 5,000-word essays or one x 5,000-word essay and a 2 hour exam.

Pre-requisites: All students taking the module should have taken EN121 Medieval to Renaissance Literature.

For further information please see Course Details and Bibliography.