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Legends of King Arthur: Medieval to Modern


A sword and castle

This course introduces students to the literary tradition surrounding King Arthur, from the early medieval period to the twentieth century, focusing on the tradition within Great Britain. The course will follow the Arthurian myth, its stories and its characters, as they evolve through time in different contexts, and through different genres, from early romances to twentieth-century musical drama. Special attention will be paid to notions of kingship, nation, and gender as represented within Arthurian literature.


  • Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain, ed. Michael Faletra (Broadview) (available online as a PDF through the publisher at…)
  • Sir Thomas Malory, Morte Darthur, ed. Helen Cooper (Oxford)
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King (Penguin)
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Broadview)
  • T. H. White, The Once and Future King (Harper Collins)
  • Marian Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon
  •  Lerner and Loewe, Camelot

On-line readings:

  • Marie de France, Lanval
  • The Cambridge Companion to Arthurian Legends, “Introduction,” “The Early Arthur, History and Myth”
  • The Mabinogion “Culhwch and Olwen”
  • Tennyson, “The Lady of Shalott”
  • Selected poems by Edwin Muir, Thom Gunn and Geoffrey Hill
  •  Recommended guides and companions to Arthurian literature:
  • The Cambridge Companion to Arthurian Legends, ed. Elizabeth Archibold and Ad Putter
  • A Companion to Arthurian Literature, ed. Helen Fulton
  • The Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend by Alan Lupack


  • Online Discussions (15%)
  • Short Written Reponses to Discussion Questions (x2) (20%)
  • Essay (1800 - 2000 words) (30%)
  • Take-Home Final Exam (35%)

**Assessments subject to change**


  • Level 2 or above

Additional information

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153



Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.