Faculty of Arts


Arthurian Literature

Please note: this is archived course information from 2012 for ENGLISH 746.


The Arthurian story-cycle is the best-known body of narrative originating in the Middle Ages, and has given rise to numerous post-medieval recreations. This course studies its emergence in early French literature and its later development in England.

The first half of the course focuses on two seminal French narratives (in translation), Chrètien de Troyes’ Knight of the Cart, in which the story of Lancelot’s love of Queen Guenivere is related for the first time and the Quest of the Holy Grail, from an early thirteenth-century collection of romances known as the Vulgate Prose Cycle. Our point of departure will be the problematisation of earthly and spiritual love arising from the drawing together of the story of Lancelot’s adulterous love affair with the story of the Holy Grail.

The second half of the course examines comparatively Malory’s retelling of the Arthurian legend in Books 6-8 of his Morte d’Arthur. Two other works drawn upon by Malory (in addition to the Knight of the Cart and the Quest of the Holy Grail) are considered in the second half of the course: the Middle English Stanzaic Morte Arthur and a French romance from the Vulgate Prose Cycle, The Death of Arthur. Note: texts of the Middle English Stanzaic Morte Arthur and Book 6 of Malory’s Morte d’Arthur are available online.

Availability 2012

Semester 2


Coordinator(s)  Roger Nicholson


ENGLISH 746: 15.0 points



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