Fall 2011 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
The legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is one of the most enduring and adapted stories in the Western world. During the course of the past eleven centuries, depictions of Arthurian legend have run the spectrum from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “historical” account in the twelfth century, to Mark Twain’s satirical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, to Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail. One cannot discuss King Arthur and his knights without reference to their quest for the Holy Grail. Since the Middle Ages, Arthur’s knights have sought the mysteries of the holiest of Christian objects. In this course, we will explore the development of Arthurian legend from its early development in the romances of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, to its critical reappraisal in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, to its resurgence in the nineteenth century both as an object symbolic of British nationalism in Idylls of the King and at the same time a subject of ridicule in the work of Mark Twain. In examining a number of texts in the Arthurian tradition, we will also incorporate the popular response to the legend in the films of the twentieth century.
The Quest of the Holy Grail
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Chrétien de Troyes. Perceval: The Story of the Grail
Mark Twain. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria: