GET 2250: The Tales of King Arthur
Spring 2001
Turlington 2349, Tuesdays 5th and 6th periods, and Thursdays 6th period.
Will Hasty
Office: 254 Dauer
Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 7th period, or by appointment.





I. BRIEF DESCRIPTION:
The tales of King Arthur, from the early Middle Ages to the present, in folktale, literature, and film, have provided a model for the articulation of the interests and values of different social groups through history. This general education course taught in English translation studies a corpus of literature that is international in its makeup and significance, with consideration of works originally composed in Welsh, Latin, French, German, and English. The development of the Arthurian tales is traced from its obscure origins in Celtic Britain during the migrations of peoples, to the romances of the High Middle Ages, to significant works of the later Middle Ages (Malory), and finally to exemplary modern versions of the Arthurian tales in highbrow and popular literature. We will be interested especially in viewing the Arthurian tales as cultural documents that reveal the values and interests of the different communities that produced them. 

II. TEXTS:

1. Chrétien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances (Penguin Classics, 1991)

2. Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival (Penguin Classics, 1980)

3. The Quest of the Holy Grail (Penguin Classics, 1969)

4. T.H. White, The Once and Future King (Ace Books, 1987)

5. Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon (Del Rey, 1982)

6. Numerous other readings are on the World Wide Web; links to them have been provided in the provisory class schedule below.

7. The Camelot Project



III. Grade:

Homework assignments: 18%

Three 60-minute Tests (12 points per test): 36%

Final: 16%

Essay(s): 15%

Adventure: 5%

Attendance and Participation 10%

* Note: All written work must be typescript. No hand-written papers will be accepted. It goes without saying that all of your written work will be appraised on the basis of presentation  ( i.e., accuracy, grammar, and style).

Your course grade will be based on your final point total:

A+= 99-100 / A= 91-98.9 / B+= 89-90.9 / B= 81-88.9 / C+= 79-80.9 / C= 71-78.9 /etc. 



IV. Course Requirements:

1. Tests and Final:

The three tests and the final will probably include multiple choice type questions that test knowledge of assigned readings and other discussed materials, and identifications of varying length that will test understanding of significant names, places, figures, texts, etc. (testable material includes reading assignments and the material of lectures). Although the final will focus on Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon, it will also test materials from throughout the semester and therefore should be considered comprehensive.

Note: In class I may draw your attention to episodes in given works that are not in the reading assignments; you will be responsible for remembering what is said about these episodes as well.

2. Essays:
Two shorter essays of at least five pages.
Essays should be double-spaced with one inch margins. Your goal here is not just to produce a summary of the plot, but rather to relate a given work, episode, and/or figure to broader political, social, and/or cultural developments. I will frequently talk about secondary sources in class, I will put important books on reserve for this course, and you should use them in your paper! Please talk to me about your paper if you have questions! Click here for some ideas about possible essay topics.

3. Homework:
The homework will generally be web-based interactive assignments. Often these will be simple multiple choice questions designed to monitor your completion of the reading, but also to draw your attention to some of the recurring patterns and characteristics in the Arthurian tales. These web-based assignments are not yet all in place. I am in the process of putting them together THIS SEMESTER.  I will keep you informed in class about these assignments.  Homework assignments are due the day on which they are listed.  I will grant a few days grace period (but no more than a week) if you can produce a good reason why you did not get a given assignment to me on time. If you have a problem that prevents you from getting your homework to me, it is your responsibility to get in touch with me and let me know about it.  If there's no homework and no word from you, then -- sorry! -- there's no credit. Some of what you do in the homework assignments will reappear on the tests -- a good reason to complete the homework conscientiously!

4. An Adventure (i.e., "project"):
The form of the adventure I leave up to you, but it should in some way involve the texts read/seen in class (or other Arthurian narratives you know), or an adaptation thereof, and it should somehow demonstrate the effort spent in accomplishing it.  Some ideas: 1) a story (from your own life; about contemporary events/politics) using the characters and/or style of one or another of the Arthurian narratives;2) A dramatic reenactment of a scene from one of the narratives (which would need to be arranged with me well in advance);3) A poetic treatment of some aspect of the Arthurian tales; 4) A pictorial, photographic, or film representation of the Arthurian tales;5) A brief (2-3 pages typescript) analytical synopsis of another Arthurian narrative that was not assigned reading for this course; 6) A report on a book or article from the secondary literature about the Arthurian narratives that you find particularly interesting; 7) An analytical review of one or more Arthurian films. These are only a few ideas: You decide what kind of adventure it will be. You will receive block credit (i.e., 5 points) for your adventure (i.e., you will not get a letter-grade);however, especially noteworthy adventures will be proclaimed publically before the class and possibly placed under the Student Adventures rubric of the Tales of  King Arthur site on the Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures Homepage, and those students accomplishing such adventures will thus receive praise and worship. Your  adventure can be performed/handed in any time during the course of the semester, but you  should not leave it until the last minute (i.e., when an essay is due!).



A few student adventures from recent years


Resources:
A map of "dark age Britain"
Britannia Arthurian Resources
Arthurian timeline
Map of 12th century France
Map of 12th century Germany
The beginning of Wolfram's Parzival: Middle High German text
Quest figures
Narrative considerations and literary influences
folktale
romance
From Folktale to Romance: Some Structural Observations
Stations in Wolfram's Parzival
Carnal temptations: a few passages from the early saints lives


GET 2250: The Tales of King Arthur-- Spring 1999

ATTENDANCE POLICY:

Your registration for this course indicates agreement to be present in class, with appropriate assignments or exam preparation completed, when classes are in session according to the official university calendar. Unexcused absences beyond 3 will result in a lowering of the final grade by one position per absence.

IV. Provisory schedule
(note: Tuesday assignments as listed below generally reflect the fact that we meet for two periods on this day)
...
Tuesday, January 9:  Course introduction;  Introduction to the historical underpinnings of the Arthurian legend, Arthurian archeology, and an overview of the early Arthurian sources.
...
Thursday, January 11:
Topic #1: The Early Arthurian Sources
Reading:  from Gildas's De Excidio BritanniaeArthurian references in the Annals of Wales,  the Spoils of Annwn
Click here for the homework assignment (1)
. . .
Tuesday, January 16:
Topic #1: The Early Arthurian Sources
Reading: from the Historia Britonum attributed to Nennius.
and,
Topic #2: The Rise of the Romances
Reading:
from Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, and Kilhwch and Olwen.
Click here for the homework assignment (2)
. . .
Thursday, January 18:
Topic #2: The Rise of the Romances
Reading: Marie de France, Lanval.
Click here for the homework assignment (3)
...
Tuesday, January 23:
Topic #2: The Rise of the Romances
Reading: Chrétien de Troyes, Yvain, pp. 295-358
Click here for the homework assignment (4)
...
Thursday, January 25:
Topic #2: The Rise of the Romances
Reading: Chrétien de Troyes, Yvain, pp. 359-380.
Click here for the homework assignment (5)
...
Tuesday, January 30:
Test on topics #1 and #2.
Topic #3: Romancing the Grail
Reading: Chrétien de Troyes, Perceval, pp. 381-437
No homework assignment due today other than review for test and completion of assigned reading.
...
Thursday, February 1:
Topic #3: Romancing the Grail
Reading: Chrétien de Troyes, Perceval, pp. 438-494.
Click here for the homework assignment (6)
...
Tuesday, February 6:
Topic #3: Romancing the Grail
Reading:
Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival (chapters 1 and 2, and the "apology," pp.15-69)
and
Wolfram's Parzival (chapters 3 and 4, pp.70-120)
Click here for the homework assignment (7)
...
Thursday, February 8:
Topic #3: Romancing the Grail
Reading:
Wolfram's Parzival (chapters 5 and 6, pp.120-175)
Click here for the homework assignment (8)
...
Tuesday, February 13:
Topic #3: Romancing the Grail
Reading:
Wolfram's Parzival (chapter 9, pp.222-255 and chapter 14, pp.340-365)
and
Wolfram's Parzival (chapters 15 and 16, pp.366-411)
Click here for the homework assignment (9)
...
Thursday, February 15:
Topic #3: Romancing the Grail
Reading: The Quest of the Holy Grail (chapters 1-3, pp.31-76).
No extra homework assignment for today: please make sure you are caught up with the reading assignments
(--ordinarily HW#10)
...
Tuesday, February 20:
Topic #3: Romancing the Grail
Reading: The Quest of the Holy Grail (chapters 6-7, pp.94-161).
and
The Quest of the Holy Grail (chapters 9-10, pp.175-221).
...
Thursday, February 22:
Topic #3: Romancing the Grail
Reading:
The Quest of the Holy Grail (chapters 11-15, pp.222-284);
Click here for the homework assignment (11)
...
Tuesday, February 27:  Review of topic #3.
No extra assignment for today; make sure you have completed all the reading assignments of topic #3
...
Thursday, March 1:  Test #2 on topic 3.
...
Tuesday, March 6:  Spring Break
...
Thursday, March 8:  Spring Break
...
Tuesday, March 13:
Topic #4:  Malory's Arthuriad
Reading:
Volume I , The rise of Arthur: Book 1, chapters 1-27 (pp.2-48) and Book 2, chapters 1-19 (pp.49-78).
Click here for the homework assignment (12)
...
Thursday, March 15:
Topic #4:  Malory's Arthuriad
Reading: Volume II , The grail story: Books 13 and 14 (pp.223-273)
and Book 17, chapters 18-23 (pp.341-352).

ESSAY #1 is due today
Besides the reading assignment and the essay that is due today, there is no further assignment.
...
Tuesday, March 20:
Topic #4:  Malory's Arthuriad
Reading:
Volume II , The passing of Arthur: Books 20 and 21 (pp.433-506).
and
Malory, concluding considerations.
Click here for the homework assignment (13)
...
Thursday, March 22:
Topic #5:  King Arthur in the 19th Century
Reading:
Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Coming of Arthur .
Click here for the homework assignment (14)
...
Tuesday, March 27:
Topic #5:  King Arthur in the 19th Century
Reading:
Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Passing of Arthur ; Richard Wagner, Parsifal.
and
T.H. White, The Sword in the Stone, chapters 1-6 (pp.9-55)
Click here for the homework assignment (15)
...
Thursday, March 29:
T.H. White, The Sword in the Stone, chapters 7-11 (pp.56-112)
Click here for some things to think about as you read T.H. White
...
Tuesday, April 3:
Topic #6: King Arthur in the 20th Century
Reading:
T.H. White, The Sword in the Stone, chapters 12-17, pp.113-160.
and
T.H. White, The Sword in the Stone, chapters 18-24, pp.160-209.
No extra assignment beyond the reading today. Make sure you have finished The Sword in the Stone!
...
Thursday, April 5:
Test 3 on Malory, Tennyson, Wagner, and T.H. White.
...
Tuesday, April 10:
Topic #6: King Arthur in the 20th Century
Reading:
Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon (Morgaine speaks: prologue, ix-xi;
Igraine and her family ties: chapter 1, pp.3-15; the match with Uther, chapter 2, pp.15-23;
Uther and Igraine are joined: chapter 8, pp.97-112);  Morgaine, Galahad [Lancelet], and
Gwenhwyfar meet: chapter 12, pp.138-159.
and
Mists of Avalon (The death of Uther and initiation of Arthur: chapters 13-15, pp.160-181; the making of Excalibur: chapter 18, pp.196-207; Morgaine leaves Avalon: chapter 20, pp. 222-231; Part II: motivating the "dolorous stroke": chapter 9, pp. 337-353)
Click here for the homework assignment (17)
...
Thursday, April 12:
Topic #6: King Arthur in the 20th Century
Reading:
The Mists of Avalon (Arthur, Lancelet and Gwenhwyfar as you've never seen them: chapter 17, pp.438-449; Part III: the killing of the Lady of the Lake: chapter 3, pp.485-506; Meleagrant abducts Gwenhwyfar, pp.506-519.
Click here for the homework assignment (18)
...
Tuesday, April 17:
Topic #6: King Arthur in the 20th Century
Reading:
Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon (Lancelet and Elaine: chapters 5-6, pp.520-543; Morgaine and Arthur's dark secret: chapter 7, pp.544-555; Morgaine accuses Arthur: chapter 6, pp.712- 721; the dispute continues: chapter 7, pp.721-728; Accolon versus Arthur: chapter 8, pp.728-759; the Grail: chapter 9, pp.759-774).
Click here for the final homework assignment! (19)
...
Thursday, April 19
Topic #6: King Arthur in the 20th Century
Reading:
The Mists of Avalon (the end of Merlin: chapter 11, pp.784-802; the quest for the Grail: 802-815; The death of Arthur: chapter 15/Epilogue: pp.842-876).
...
Tuesday, April 24:  Student adventures; review for final.
 ...
Final exam:  Thursday May 3, 10:00-12:00 (ESSAY #2 is due during final period)