dragonhelmuk's Reviews > Legend of Arthur in the Middle Ages Studies Presented to A H Diverres

Legend of Arthur in the Middle Ages Studies Presented to A H ... by R.A. Lodge
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May 23, 12

Read in May, 2012

Lots of essays on Arthurian Studies (Cymro-centric), now mostly rendered obsolete by "Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature" and other books of that series. Some of the articles have aged rather badly, like Rachel Bromwich's attempt to find Arthur's origins in the historic cynfeirdd traditions of the 6th century, and earlier mythology. Others have remained very useful, like Jarman's look at the Arthurian figments in the Black Book. The two articles on Yvain (and Owein) by Brynley Roberts and Tony Hunt have also remained very readable. Overall this is a very authoritive attempt to place Arthurian literature in its medieval context. Three quotes:

{Hunt's perspective of the lion in Yvain}

"Both its ferocity and compassion are unambiguously placed in the service of its master, its role, as we shall see, being to reinforce the power of the hero's own responces and aid the execution of his decisions. The autonomy of the lion is thus extremely restricted, limited in fact to the preotection of its master when his courage exposes him to extreme danger."

{Brynley Robert's perspective of the lion in Pa gur}

"The reference to 'lions' need not be taken too literally. Oppertunities for the inhabitants of Anglesey even to know what a lion looked like were slim indeed in the early Middle Ages and the form lleun, derived regularly from Latin leones, would no doubt conveuy images of a wide variety of ferociious creatures of the imagination. Cath Paluc must have been one of these.'

{Rachel Bromwich's idea of Middle Welsh and Middle Breton similarity, later taken further in her perspective of the Ys legend}

Fifteenth-century verse in the Breton language preserves traces of a rudimentary form of cynghanedd lusg (i.e. rhyme of the penultimate syllabel in a line with a preceding syllable), and also somethigm like the device known as cyrch gymeriad, in which the rhyme is carried on from the final of one stanza into the beginning of the nextL a fact which ofers eloquent testimony for the survival of a learned order of proffesional poets for a considerable period after the migration.


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