Meredith's Reviews > The Book of Guinevere: Legendary Queen of Camelot

The Book of Guinevere by Andrea Hopkins
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1560497
's review
Apr 09, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: king-arthur
Read in August, 2004

This book is a true defense of Queen Guinevere. Despite being one of the most important figures in Arthurian literature, she has always been dismissed as a mere spoiled adulteress and pushed to the wayside in the unfolding tragedy, overshadowed by King Arthur, Merlin, Sir Lancelot and the other Knights of the Round Table, the treacherous Mordred, and the magical Morgan le Fay.

Andrea Hopkins has created an anthology showing Guinevere's complexity of character. With excerpts from the most authoritative medieval sources as well as Tennyson's Victorian epic, accompanied by a plethora of manuscript illuminations and Pre-Raphaelite paintings, a completely different picture of Guinevere emerges. Her legendary love affair is not downplayed; however, the other previously ignored aspects of her life brought to light in this volume reveal a richly textured woman who is a far cry from the one dimensional paper doll usually placed by King Arthur's side and in Sir Lancelot's bed.

THE BOOK OF GUINEVERE is divided into eight main parts each focused on a different facet of her life. These are Guinevere the Young Queen and Bride, Guinevere the Victim of Abduction, Guinevere the Courtly and Gracious Queen, Guinevere the Lover, Guinevere Falsely Accused, Guinevere the Jealous Harpy, Guinevere Noble in Adversity, and, of course, the Fall of Guinevere. There is a very good introduction, and an index, a short glossary, and a bibliography for further reading are included. This book is well bound -- sewn instead of glued -- and lavishly illustrated.

It is a delightful light read on a heavy subject, and I recommend it to anyone interested in Arthurian lore particularly its female characters. The only reason I gave it four rather than five stars is because this book is not as meaty as the author's other works, and I feel there is more she could have said.
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