Arthurian Legend: Development and Participants

Development: 6th–15th Centuries

Welsh English Anglo-Norman French
545 Gildas, De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae
600 The Book of Aneurin
945 Nennius, Historia Britonum
955 Annales Cambriae
10th c. Culhwch and Olwen, The Dream ofRhonabwy
12th c. Black Book of Caermarthen 1125 William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum Anglorum (in Latin)
1135 Geoffrey of Monmouth, Vita Merlini, Historia Regum Britanniae (in Latin) 1140 Geoffrey Gaimer, L'Estoire des Engles
1155 Robert Wace, Roman de Brut
1160s Chrétien de Troyes
1175 Marie de France, Lanval and other lais
1197 Walter Map (attrib.), a lost Latin Lancelot 12th c. 2 Tristram romances (Thomas and Beroul)
1205 Layamon, Brut (based on Wace) 1202 Robert de Boron, Joseph d’Arimathie, Merlin, Perceval
13th c. Prose Lancelot and Tristram
13th c. Prose Vulgate (includes Queste del Saint Graal)
1360 Alliterative Morte Arthure
1400 Stanzaic Morte Arthur
1469 Thomas Malory

Some Modern Treatments in English

Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (allegorical poem; 1590, 1595).

John Dryden and Henry Purcell, King Arthur, or The British Worthy (an opera; 1691).

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Merlin” (a short poem in two parts; 1847).

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King (poetry; 1857-1885, 1889).

Edwin Arlington Robinson, Merlin, Lancelot, and Tristram (three long poems; 1917-1927).

Charles Williams, Taliessin through Logres (1938) and The Region of the Summer Stars (1944) (two [very difficult] poem sequences).

T. H. White, The Once and Future King (prose fiction; 1939).

C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength (prose fiction; 1946).

Susan Cooper, The Dark Is Rising series (prose fiction): Over Sea, Under Stone (1965), The Dark Is Rising (1973), The Greenwitch (1974), The Grey King (1975), Silver on the Tree (1977).

Mary Stewart, The Crystal Cave (1970), The Hollow Hills (1973), The Last Enchantment (1979), and The Wicked Day (1983) (prose fiction).

Rick Wakeman, The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (musical suite, 1975).

Gillian Bradshaw, Hawk of May (1980), Kingdom of Summer (1981), In Winter's Shadow (1982) (prose fiction).

Robertson Davies, The Lyre of Orpheus (prose fiction; 1989).

Still Other Participants

England: Swinburne, Arnold, Masefield.

America: Twain, Eliot

Italy: Rusticano of Pisa

Germany: Gottfried von Strassburg, Hartmann von Aue, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Eilhart von Oberge

… and many others