Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Arthurian Literature; Medieval to Renaissance
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  2 essays (2,500 words each).  One essay of 2500 words  60%
Semester Assessment 30 minute summative group oral presentation  Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected.  40%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should typically be able to:

1. demonstrate an informed awareness of the scope of Arthurian myth, and of the varying adaptations of the stories during the medieval period;

2. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of particular Arthurian texts, and of their relation to appropriate genres, such as romance and chronicle history;

3. articulate this knowledge and awareness in the form of a reasoned critical analysis of particular texts and in an oral presentation;

4. explain and engage with recent critical debates about the texts studied.

Brief description

The module examines a series of Medieval and Renaissance texts in order to explore the various ways that the stories of King Arthur and his court were translated and adapted, from Geoffrey of Monmouth to Thomas Malory. The module will not deal with the historical or archaeological evidence for the factuality of Arthur, but with the use of myth, modes of interpretation and ways of reading material which is both historical and literary.


This module examines a series of medieval and renaissance texts in order to explore the various ways that Arthurian stories were translated and adapted, from chronicle accounts of Geoffrey of Monmouth through the fictional entertainments of prose and verse romance literature and the politicised re-writings of Thomas Malory and Caxton his early printer. We will examine a selection of the different versions of the legends from the 12th to the 15th centuries. We will not be concerned with the question of the historical authenticity of Arthur and his court but rather with the ways in which a conglomeration of particularly British myths was adapted and used by writers (and readers) living in different cultural contexts. The module also examines a wide variety of material and types of writing: poetry, chronicles, painting, film &c, so that questions about genre as well as historical period and cultural context are incorporated into our interpretations and analysis of the core texts.

Seminar schedule

Seminar 1 Introductory
Extracts from 'rxcalibur? (Boorman 1981)
The History of Arthur 1 (Extracts-Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace and Layamon)

Seminar 2: History of Arthur 2
Analytical methods for understanding Geoffrey of Monmouth Wace and Layamon

Seminar 3: Romance 1- Chretien de Troyes
'rancelot? or 'rerceval?

Seminars 4 and 5 Holy Grail
4) The Quest of the Holy Grail (French Vulgate)
5) Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Seminar 6: Skills for Oral Presentation

Seminars 7 and 8: Romance 2 - Gawain stories
7) Carle of Carlisle (including National Library Manuscript in Digital Facsimile)
8) Marriage of Gawain (TEAMS texts online)

Seminar 9 and 10 The Death of King Arthur
9) Compare and Contrast Stanzaic 'rorte? and French Vulgate 'reath? (extracts provided)
10) Sir Thomas Malory Morte Darthur


This module is at CQFW Level 6