Arthurian stuff (King Arthur-related)

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Re: Arthurian stuff (King Arthur-related)

Postby solicitr » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:55 am

Aravar wrote:The Coming of the King is excellent, if a little hard going in the early chapters. It is Merlin rather than Arthur who is central.


In fact Arthur is hardly a presence, since the premise of the book is Tolstoy's theory that Merlin lived two generations after Arthur in the time of Maelgwn Gwynedd. Nonetheless a book on Merlin still falls within the "Matter of Britain,' just as much as, say Tristan und Isolde (which has no real reference to Arthur either).
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Re: Arthurian stuff (King Arthur-related)

Postby andurilwest » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:24 am

A belated thanks to you both. I actually have that book mentioned earlier in this thread. I'd say it's more Tolkien than Tolkien in language-culture simulation, if that makes sense. It's a shame there aren't any sequels as planned.

Since I last posted, I've found Firelord and Beloved Exile by Parke Godwin. The former is kind of a holy grail for me since it's highly regarded from the reviews I've read.

And now Tolkien has his own Arthur book released!
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Re:

Postby solicitr » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:09 am

Gandalf'sMother wrote:
Believe it or not, there are some scholars who believe the prototype of Camelot was indeed in southern Scotland, as a result of attempting to identify the historical figure on whom the legendary Arthur was based.


Historical inquiry into this period has been so polluted and complicated by nationalism, that it is very difficult to see any research on it as unbiased, and as such, authoritative. Was Camelot in England or southern Scotland? I have no idea. All I do know is that none of the scholarship, so far, is convincing.

-GM


Had you asked Tolkien, for whom language always came first, he might well have answered "Of course Camelot existed, and it was Colchester (Roman Camulodunum)." No hint though that any "Arthur" was ever associated with the place.

(I suspect that Chretien's "Camelot" stemmed from his picking up a fragmentary tradition that the old capital of Britain before London and Winchester was Camulodunum, without anything else in terms of its actual place in the chronology. Historically Colchester was the original Roman capital until it was sacked in Boudicca's rebellion, after which the Romans moved shop to Londinium).
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Re: Arthurian stuff (King Arthur-related)

Postby andurilwest » Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:48 am

Got The Hallowed Isle series by Diana Paxon and the Pendragon's Banner series by Helen Hollick.

In The Hallowed Isle Merlin is half wood-wose, neat touch.
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Re: Arthurian stuff (King Arthur-related)

Postby GlassHouse » Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:52 am

andurilwest wrote:....

In The Hallowed Isle Merlin is half wood-wose, neat touch.



This is consistent with the old stories.

Myrddin & Merlin: A Guide to the Early Evolution of the Merlin Legend

The Merlin legend and its associated prophecies can be split into two main phases. The first is the definitely pre-Galfridian Welsh stage in which Merlin (Welsh Myrddin) is conceived of as a legendary prophet. The second is the transformation of this Myrddin, by Geoffrey of Monmouth, into an internationally renowned wizard and vaticinator named Merlin who plays a crucial role in bringing about the conception of Arthur and who is prominent in later Arthurian story.

We do not possess a prose version of the Myrddin legend in Middle Welsh, but it has been argued that a general idea of its contents can be deduced from a number of allusions found in six medieval poems which, combined with Scottish and Irish versions of the tale, make possible a reconstruction of its main outline. These poems are Yr Afallennau ('The Apple-trees'); Yr Oianau ('The Greetings'); Ymddiddan Myrddin a Thaliesin ('The Dialogue of Myrddin and Taliesin'); Cyfoesi Myrddin a Gwenddydd ei Chwaer ('The Conversation of Myrddin and his Sister Gwenddydd'); Gwasgargerdd fyrddin yn y Bedd ('The Diffused Song of Myrddin in the Grave'); and Peirian Faban ('Commanding Youth'). The first three can be found in the thirteenth-century Black Book of Carmarthen and the remaining three occur in manuscripts dating from succeeding centuries. However, all the poems contain material that is probably considerably older than the dates of the written texts and they all furthermore include both legendary and prophetic material (with the legendary matter being undoubtedly older than the prophetic), the proportions of which vary from poem to poem.

In most of these poems the subject – who is either named as Myrddin or is generally assumed to be him – is portrayed as a Wild Man of the Woods living in Coed Celyddon (the 'Caledonian Forest'), where he has fled to after losing his reason ('wandering with madness and madmen') in the northern battle of Arfderydd, fought between rival chieftains c. 573 A.D.; with this lapse into madness Myrddin is said to have acquired the gift of prophecy. The antiquity of these traditions is however suspect, at least in their attachment to Myrddin. In Scottish sources there is a virtually identical tale of a Wild Man to that summarized above, but in these he is named Lailoken rather than Myrddin. It has been convincingly argued by Jarman that the above traditions of a prophetic wild man, which are attached to the name Myrddin, originally belonged to this Lailoken alone; it was only when the legend of Lailoken was transported to Wales, along with other northern saga material, that these traditions were attached to the name Myrddin. Jarman suggests that this occurred in ninth or tenth century; Padel, in contrast, has recently contended that this happened in the mid-twelfth century, but equally agrees that these tales originally belonged to Lailoken (see further below).
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Re: Arthurian stuff (King Arthur-related)

Postby Diamond of Long Cleeve » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:48 am

I just read Rosemary Sutcliff's Sword at Sunset.

What a fabulous novel. <3 I am a huge Sutcliff fan anyway - her wonderful Roman Britain trilogy is so-called children's fiction but deserves its adult audience - but Sword at Sunset seems to me to be her masterpiece.

The book acts as a chronological bridge between The Lantern Bearers and Dawn Wind, but is a much more adult work, and far darker. Sex (quite explicit for the time, she wrote it in 1963), adultery, violence (including non-graphic sexual violence) ... all this from a woman who suffered from Still's disease and was disabled all her life. What an incredible writer she was!

Told in the first person, this is about Artos the Bear, the great Romano-British captain trying to keep Sub-Roman Britain from being swamped by the Saxons. Some of the principal characters from the legendarium feature: Bedwyr is the Lancelot figure, Guenhumara is Guinevere, Ygerna is the vengeful half-sister and the creepily compelling Medraut is Artos's nemesis. No Merlin, no magic, but no less compelling and magical for that. I love the Arthur myth stripped back to its bare essentials like this. I couldn't put it down. Sutcliff writes amazing battle scenes (she did meticulous research with various historian friends), and the climactic scene when Artos' men crown him Caesar on White Horse Hill at Uffington (a beautiful, ancient place which I've been to myself) is very powerful:

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/white-horse-hill/

But Artos knows that the sense of magic and destiny is illusory and that it's lonely 'above the snow-line', i.e. being Britain's saviour is a pretty isolating role. The ending, in which you see the seeds which would flower into the Avalon idea, is beautiful and very moving.

As ever, there are some great animal characters: hounds and horses feature a lot in Sutcliff's work - endearing, but never sentimentally done either.
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Re: Arthurian stuff (King Arthur-related)

Postby andurilwest » Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:37 pm

:)

Found Arthur, King by Dennis Lee Anderson. Not one of the better-known treatments for a reason. Arthur is transported to WW2 during the Battle of Britain and becomes a fighter pilot. The story should have been interesting but it wasn't executed very well. Plus the author takes the Hun label for Germans literally, making them descendants of the actual Huns. Oi. :|
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Re: Arthurian stuff (King Arthur-related)

Postby Morwenna » Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:05 am

Can someone jog my memory? Around 40 or 50 years ago I read (library copy) a novel about Tristan and Iseult, but I can't even remember the title, much less the author. What books are there out there on this topic? Maybe one of you will strike a chord. I'm almost certain the names of the characters were not in the title. Remember, it's at least 50 years old, and the copy I read was hardbound without a dust jacket.
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Re: Arthurian stuff (King Arthur-related)

Postby andurilwest » Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:47 pm

Bibliography of 230 Novels with Arthurian Characters and Themes

Perhaps either of these?

Closs, Hannah Priebach. Tristan: A Tale of Cornwall and Britanny. New York: Vanguard, 1967.
The novel tells the story of Tristan's life from birth. This version has Tristan dying when he sees the black sail as he languishes in Brittany.

Roberts, Dorothy James. The Enchanted Cup. New York: Appleton Century Crofts, 1953.
This first novel in a series tells the story of Tristan. The other two novels are Launcelot, My Brother and Kinsmen of the Grail.
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Re: Arthurian stuff (King Arthur-related)

Postby Morwenna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:38 am

The Enchanted Cup sounds familiar. But I didn't know it was part of a series! :shock: More to investigate!
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