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Arthurian Literature

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Location: London, UK

Postby sweetpotatoboy » Fri September 11th, 2009, 9:58 pm

"Carla" wrote:The Once and Future King, by TH White? Adult, and it's among my favourite versions of the Arthur legends. A few thoughts on it (not a full review) here: http://www.carlanayland.org/reviews/once_future_king.htm

I should add that not everyone likes it; I do, but you may not share my taste. Some people find it excessively whimsical.

I'm one of those. I forced myself through it and the sequels. As an Arthurian nut, I felt I had to have read them. I thought they were all over the place in terms of style, genre and approach. The first book seemed largely aimed at children but not fully, the rest were more serious but very, very strange.

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Location: Northern Virginia

Postby Tanzanite » Sat September 12th, 2009, 3:03 pm

"annis" wrote:I've just discovered a new Arthurian trilogy by M.K. Hume. I've got the first book at home, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. It's called "Dragon's Child".

The second book (Warrior of the West) is being released October 1st - it showed up on my Amazon recommendations the other day.


Postby enelya » Thu February 18th, 2010, 8:52 pm

I read the first one a while ago, and from what I can remember about it it was quite ok. I just do not really like the very Roman setting of the first part, but the characters are quite well developed. Part two is waiting on my to read pile, but since that keeps growing I don't know when I will get around to reading ot

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Location: London, UK

Postby sweetpotatoboy » Fri June 4th, 2010, 9:49 pm

An article in The Times today about a new YA Athurian book and examining the genre:


Postby annis » Sat June 5th, 2010, 3:49 am

Sounds like an interesting version of the Arthurian legend, SPB, and it's natural for folk-myths to be reinterpreted so that they are relevant to the period they're written in.

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Location: Pendleton, Oregon

Postby SarahWoodbury » Sat June 5th, 2010, 3:42 pm

I find this quote from the article astonishing:

"The rising children’s author Philip Womack thinks that the myth of Arthur taps into the political aspect as well. “As inhabitants of these islands, we don’t have many myths that bring us together, but King Arthur is one,” he says. “I think that we will always seek him as a saviour, whatever situation we’re in, because that’s human nature. The reason the Arthur myths are currently so popular is that they reflect our age brilliantly.”

It's astonishing because this is EXACTLY WHAT GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH INTENDED! How amazing is that? Working for Robert of Gloucester (who was the chief support for his sister Maud, against King Stephen), he wrote his History of the Kings of Britain 900 years ago precisely to create a myth for the English people (as opposed to the Welsh, to whom Arthur had belonged up to that point) that justified the Norman takeover of Britain, traced their lineage back to classical times, and tied everything up in a neat bow culturally. Wow.
Last edited by SarahWoodbury on Sat June 5th, 2010, 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Postby Doug » Sun July 4th, 2010, 6:36 pm

I'll echo what a few others have said and cast my votes for Bernard Cornwell's Warlord and Jack Whyte's Camulod series. Thought they were both tremendous, though if I had to pick one, I'm partial to Whyte's, perhaps in part due to length -- I love long series!

While not strictly Arthurian, "The Altar of the Legion" by Farnham Bishop and Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur is in the same vein -- set in England following the withdrawal of the Roman legions and covering events that arguably give rise to the Arthurian legends. But there's no Arthur in it. Originally serialized in Adventure magazine in 1925, it was printed in hardcover in 1925 and is long out of print, but copies can be found pretty easily on the used book sites.


Postby annis » Sun July 4th, 2010, 7:40 pm

Posted by Doug
While not strictly Arthurian, "The Altar of the Legion" by Farnham Bishop and Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur is in the same vein

Is the altar in question Mithraic, or is it a metaphorical image?


Postby Doug » Sun July 4th, 2010, 8:09 pm

No, it's not Mithraic, as the Romans are portrayed as Christian. Definitely metaphoric.

As an aside, Brodeur did do a scholarly monograph on Arthur, "Arthur, Dux Bellorum", published by University of Berkeley (where he was a professor), which is somewhat difficult to find and pretty dry. Not action packed fiction by any means!

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Location: Houston

Postby Ashley » Tue August 24th, 2010, 2:24 am

Yay, Arthurian thread. :D

I would second (and third, fourth, etc) the comments about Bernard Cornwell and Helen Hollick. And Rosemary Sutcliff (god, that was so wonderful), and TH White (yes, whimsical but I love his version of Lancelot) and Parke Godwin.

What is it about Arthur? I was raised on Steinbeck (which I still love) and I have to admit I lost the passion when I grew up for things more fantasy driven. But 2004 brought Clive Owen's terrible and wonderful King Arthur and I fell in love all over again. I searched out any kind of "realistic" Arthur books I could find, (that's how I found Helen and Rosemary) and so far I have devoured as much as I could in the genre, also starting my own novel featuring Lancelot and writing fanfiction for ages based on the movie (I wrote my own modern day spin on it, making Arthur into a cop and Lancelot into the son of a mobster, Guinevere his sister, and dealt with the tragedy of their relationship. It morphed from a one shot piece into a 300+ page "novel" lord help me :p ).

I still love the myth idea - although I have become a bigger fan of the "realistic" stuff versus the fantasy. I will read almost any version, though.

Guy Gavriel Kay also springs to mind; what a different, tragic and well written way to tell the story (I love his Arthur and Lancelot so much).

And yet why am I still obsessed? When I started writing fanfiction it was in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe (laughs) which I still like a lot...but I've written and read in Arthur now for almost seven years. Is it the timelessness of it? The romance? The idea of a fallible, lovable yet by god do I want to punch him sometimes hero - he is self righteous, hurtful, selfish and a fool who does what he wants despite the consequences for others sometimes. And yet he engenders loyalty and love from not one or two but many hundreds of people his entire life.

And then there's the idea that Ms. Hollick spoke of in one of her books - why would any king allow himself to be cuckolded the way he was in the myth?

My idea of that whole triangle...Lancelot is in love with both Arthur and Guinevere, and because he's human and also flawed...he cannot choose and the story ends the only way it can, in tragedy.

There's a woman, a Canadian singer, who does albums based on the story called Heather Dale. She has a song called May Queen and one called Exile that just break my heart, but also represent the triangle perfectly.

Yeah, I ramble. ;)

What do you guys think? What do you love/hate about Arthur? Did you see the movie - let me know what you thought as it's my greatest passion. *laughs*

Thanks for letting me ramble.

ETA: forgot to mention Peter David's modern day Arthur stuff. Lots of fun.
Last edited by Ashley on Tue August 24th, 2010, 2:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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