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Malory’s Morte Darthur 2: Sir Lancelot, Sir Gareth, & War with Rome

Arthurian LiteratureHistoryThe Middle Ages
Precepted by Liam Daley.
This course marks the second part in a series on Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur, but you do not need to have taken the first part to join. This module explores Books II, III, and IV of the Morte Darthur, offering three short, stand-alone tales of Arthur, his knights, and the wider world they inhabit.

Book II, “The Tale of the Noble King Arthur that was Emperor,” shows Malory’s version of King Arthur as military leader and conqueror of Rome. Adapted from the late Middle English alliterative tradition, this tale was not included in Caxton’s original 15th century printing, but only discovered in 1934 with the finding of the lost Winchester Manuscript.

Book III, “A Noble Tale of Sir Launcelot du Lake,” shows Lancelot’s kidnapping by Morgan Le Fay, with the political and amatory complications that arise.

And finally, Book IV, “The Tale of Sir Gareth,” (evidently the only tale that Malory invented himself) follows Gawain’s younger brother Gareth from seemingly-lowly origins, through trials and mockery, to eventual triumph as full-fledged knight. With a mixture of the chivalry, comedy, and romance, these three tales make essential reading for any fan of the Arthurian cannon.

Note: Students may participate in this series in any month even if they did not take a previous class in the series.

Iterations

February 2023 Confirmed

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