The Search for King Arthur by David DayThis book was entertaining and descriptive, with wonderful illustrations and excerpts from orginal writings, although every once in a while the author seemed to be assuming that the reader would already have a fairly broad knowledge of the Arthurian legends and romanctic tales. The book includes a timeline with significant Arthurian works listed ... but I dont think that the list is all that concise or up to date. Its at least a decade old. It does include poems, fictional books and critical texts, as well as plays and movies though. I was fascinated by the linking of characters with real historical figures, and the hows and whys of their development throughout time. For instance, how Morgan le Fay was originally depicted as a wise woman and a healer, then Medieval priests turned her into a sorcerous and later into someone so vile that she would commit incest in order to undermine and destroy Arthurs authority ... onto today with how she is depicted as a torn, pagan, premodern feminist in Marion Zimmer Bradleys The Mists of Avalon (which I have already written, unfavorably, about). Overall this book is excellent, although dont be fooled by the colorful pictures and bold type ... its articulate and offers a lot to ponder upon and absorb.
Was King Arthur Real?
In Search of the Real King Arthur
Arthur, king of the ancient Britons, lord of the knights, muse of poets English and French Well, that depends on what you mean by Arthur. If you're talking about the swashbuckling super-hero who plucks swords from stones, has a wizard sidekick called Merlin, a bunch of Richard Gere lookalikes in his entourage, and is and this is where it really gets dodgy still alive in a place called Avalon, then the answer is a definite yes. But if you're prepared to do a little lateral thinking and imagine a fifth or sixth-century Celtic king, or a warrior called something that sounds a bit like Arthur, who was engaged in an uprising against Saxon invaders and who was eulogised by the downtrodden Welsh and Cornish peoples long after he died, the answer is possibly not. Let's start where, according to the 12th-century cleric Geoffrey of Monmouth, Arthur was conceived — on the tiny Cornish peninsula of Tintagel. Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain distilled a whole raft of Welsh legends pertaining to Arthur into his own rather implausible yarn. In this version of events, Tintagel is where the British king Uther came in pursuit of Ygerna, a princess to whom he had taken so strong a fancy that he declared war on her husband.
Arthur, a Celtic king born of deceit and adultery, grew to become one of the most famous rulers of Britain. He was a warrior, a knight and a king who killed giants, witches and monsters and led a band of heroes on many daring adventures. He is known for his Knights of the Round Table and for uniting the peoples of his land. Even though his end was tragic, he is still known and celebrated all over the world today. His story is painted on the halls of the British Parliament. Arthur's story begins with Uther Pendragon, his father.