In any case, for a little more background on the Anglo-Norman period, including
In any case, for a little more background on the Anglo-Norman period, including Guillaume le Bâtard, Richard the Lionhearted, and the Magna Carta, watch The Normans (46:47):
https://ncc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://digital.films.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=103455&xtid=35814 (Note: This is recommended viewing, not required):
Let’s start with some deep background…about Arthur, Begin by watching Arthur: The Once and Future King (56:12), https://digital-films-com.ncc.idm.oclc.org/p_ViewVideo.aspx?xtid=44321. Are you excited? Let’s go to Page 2 and look at some texts….
*See also, Echard, Siân. “The Quest for the Holy Grail” (pictorial)
NAEL-selections.docx (7.478 MB)
NAEL-selections.pdf (1.074 MB)
Let’s start with some small ones: Read excerpts from Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace, and Layamon (not in textbook), here:
Next, read Marie de France, The Lay of Sir Launfal and The Lay of the Honeysuckle (312-321 in British Literature), including the Reading and Review Questions after the text. (You should always look at the questions, to test your comprehension and attention to detail. If you’ve not been doing that all semester, start it this week, okay?)
Also, although it’s technically much later, let’s take a brief look at one of the big ones, Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur (or, Morte d’Arthur). Read the British Library’s introduction and description, here: https://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/englit/malory/ and some brief excerpts: Book I,Chapter V. How Arthur was chosen king, and of wonders and marvels of a sword taken out of a stone by the said Arthur and Book XXI, Chapter IV. How by misadventure of an adder the battle began, where Mordred was slain, and Arthur hurt to the death and Chapter V. How King Arthur commanded to cast his sword Excalibur into the water, and how he was delivered to ladies in a barge.
That’s all of the reading for this week. Not so bad, right? Wait until next week, when we’re going to tackle one of the big ones, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. You might want to get a jump on it….
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS BELOW
The following are questions to prompt your thinking and discussion about this week’s readings. As always, think about them and formulate a coherent, thoughtful response, rather than just answering each question one after another. Also, please edit and proofread your posts! Avoid errors in grammar, diction, spelling, and mechanics; this is an upper-level English elective, remember.
What characteristics define the hero in medieval Arthurian romance? What makes one a “a verray, parfit, gentil knyght,” to use Chaucer’s term? (You’ll see that phrase again in two weeks when we start The Canterbury Tales.) How does this concept of the hero differ from, say, an Anglo-Saxon or modern ideal? In what ways does it conform to—or clash with—your prior understanding of knighthood and chivalry?
The chivalric ideal and/or common conceptions of chivalry often revolve around the idea of a knight questing or performing great deeds for his lady’s honor. In several of these works, however, we see some complications that can problematize that ideal, for example, the lovers in The Lay of the Honeysuckle. With reference to the various texts this week, what is the ideal relationship between a knight and his “lady”?