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King Arthur: History and Legend

Written by: Dorsey Armstrong,The Great Courses
Narrated by: Dorsey Armstrong
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Publisher's Summary

The saga of King Arthur and his court is the most enduringly popular mythic tradition of Western civilization. For over 1,500 years, the Arthurian narrative has enthralled writers, artists, and a limitless audience spanning the Western world and beyond - and its appeal continues unabated in our time. No other heroic figure in literature compares with King Arthur in terms of global popularity and longevity; now, each year sees literally thousands of new versions of the story appear across diverse media, from fiction writing and visual arts to film and popular culture. Delve into the historical mystery behind the figure of Arthur, and discover the magnificent breadth of these epic tales.

These 24 spellbinding lectures reveal the full scope of the Arthurian tradition, from its beginnings in post-Roman Britain to its extraordinary trajectory across the centuries and its latest incarnations in modern times. Your pathfinder in this world of mythic adventure and romance, Professor Armstrong, is one of the world's leading Arthurian scholars and the current editor-in-chief of the academic journal Arthuriana. Demonstrating both encyclopedic knowledge and an infectious passion for the subject, she leads you in tracing how the myth developed across time, clarifying many misunderstood aspects of the narrative, such as the origins of the Round Table and the figure of Merlin, the illicit love between Lancelot and Guenevere, and the varied manifestations of the magical Holy Grail. You'll discover how the legend was appropriated and assimilated by differing cultures, and how each writer and artist in the tradition reflected and commented, through the Arthurian narrative, on the concerns of their own time and place. The result is an illuminating look at one of the most engaging, entertaining, and influential legendary traditions the world has ever known.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2015 The Great Courses (P)2015 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about King Arthur: History and Legend

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This was great!

Dorsey Armstrong knows all there can be known about King Arthur, and takes you on a fascinating exploration of all the tales. While often negating theories that are unlikely, just as often she’ll dangle a possibility, just far enough out of reach to tantalize one’s imagination. Throughout she lists books she recommends.

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An excellent introduction to Arthurian legend

Dorsey Armstrong's lectures are passionate, accessible, and well-structured. I listen to lectures and audiobooks when I do chores and I honestly looked forward to cleaning my house because it meant getting to listen to Dorsey. This is exactly the foundation I was looking for to start digging deeper into the history of Arthurian legend.

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Loved it

The narrator was amazing at delivering the material. she knew what she was talking about. The vibrant
content was easy to understand, while being very informative. I love the great courses series.

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