Paper #2: Contemporary Arthurian Legends

English 205
Legends of Arthur

This list is short and idiosyncratic, intended only as a starting place. The novels listed here are, for the most part, ones I find particularly interesting. There are hundreds of novels with Arthurian themes in print, and you should feel free to choose one of these, or an Arthurian film, for your contemporary project.

Your essay, 4-6 pages in length, should address not only how these retellings modify the Arthurian Legend, but why. In class we have discussed the degree to which medieval chronicles and romances are always already nostalgic for a distant past, and theorized about the cultural circumstances which impel such nostalgia. Why are twentieth century writers interested in reinventing the Arthurian myth? What purposes (political, cultural, philosophical, personal) do such reinventions serve? How and why are such topics as the quest, gender relations, selfhood, political or national identity, the otherworld transformed in these texts?

Your essay is due April 15, by 5:00.


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