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EN2C1/EN3C1 Arthurian Literature and its Legacy

King Arthur and Sir Lancelot

MON - 10-11:30

Convenor: Dr. Nancy Haijing JiangLink opens in a new window

Module overview: This module will explore the evolution of Arthurian myth from the mid twelfth to the fifteenth century. 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 final weeks of the module will examine the characteristics of the Arthurian revival in Victorian and twentieth-century Britain and America.

Materials for this module will be supplied on the following webpages, accessible through these links:

For information on course content see the Course outline

For guidelines on assessments, see the Assessments pageLink opens in a new window

For weekly seminar preparation and questions, see the Seminar questions page

Books required for the 2023-4 academic year

You will need to acquire your copies of the books below. Please be aware that retailers may take some time to order books, so you are strongly advised to purchase books well ahead of time. NB. Because we are reading many works in translation, it's essential that we're all reading the same translator's text. So in the process of acquiring these texts, the publication year is not too important, but make sure that--if it's a translated text--it's translated by the right translator (as listed below).

Term 1:
  • Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, translated and edited by Lewis Thorpe (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966). Recommended edition
  • Chr├ętien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances, translated and edited by William W. Kibler (London: Penguin, 2004). Recommended edition
  • Gottfried von Strassburg, Tristan, translated and edited by, Arthur T. Hatto (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1967). Recommended edition
  • The Quest of the Holy Grail, translated and edited by Pauline M. Matarasso (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969). Recommended edition
Term 2:
  • Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, edited by Helen Cooper (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). Recommended edition
  • Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971). Recommended edition
  • T. H. White, The Once and Future King (London: Collins, 1958). Recommended edition
  • Mary Stewart, The Crystal Cave (Eos: New York, 2003). Recommended edition
How to obtain books:

For information about buying books at Warwick see here: opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window

Secondhand copies are widely available from sources such and if you wish to reduce costs.

Pre-owned copies of set books may also be available free of charge from the English department for students who may struggle to buy books. For an up to date list of books available, please email our Widening Participation Officer,

Reading list 2023-4Link opens in a new window

All texts for our module, from primary sources to secondary scholarship, are listed here. Along with using it to check on your primary reading each week, you are expected to consult this list for scholarship before writing essays and further background reading before seminars.

Please see the "Books to Require" box below on the details of the books you will need to acquire yourself for this module

Course Padlet: Arthurian Legend in Pop Culture

We've had so many amazing suggestions of modern Arthurian fantasy, fanfics, and crazy adaptations! Here's a shared Padlet space for us to post our recommendations. Feel free to add a link to the adaption you recommend!

Arthurian Padlet