Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Art for Art's Sake

"Do you know much about Arthur?" Whitney asked yesterday afternoon. "A little," I replied, and we then chatted about Arthurian legends for about fifteen minutes. After a while, Whitney said, "You know a lot about Arthurian legend."

I guess I do. Amy deduced that I had taught Arthurian legend at one point, which is true--but my knowledge and interest goes far beyond what I taught. I found Arthurian legend, with its blend of possible history and impossible reality, to be absolutely enthralling; from the time I first saw The Sword in the Stone and read T.H. White in elementary school, I knew this was something deserving of further attention.

While it's the 19th and 20th century interpretations of the legend that appeal to me the most (particularly Tennyson, White, and Stewart), I enjoy Arthurian legendry from all eras. There's a certain brutal integrity to Malory, an inherent nobility in Chretien de Troyes that still has a literary allure.

I think Whitney is just beginning her exploration of Arthuriana. She has some great reading ahead of her...

1 comment:

Charles said...

I'm with you there, Cliff. Among my favorite Arthurian books are Mary Stewart's The Crystal Cave and it sequels, John Steinbeck's The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, and Bernard Cornwell's Arthurian trilogy, which begins with The Winter King. As you know I'm a huge fan of Tennyson.
My favorite Arthurian film is Boorman's Excalibur, flawed in places but a very up and at em sort of film.