Beth's Reviews > The Mists of Avalon

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
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's review
Aug 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read 4 times. Last read August 27, 2011 to May 28, 2012.

I'm reading this book for the fifth time because I'm teaching it in an Arthurian literature class this semester. Fridays will be our "Mists of Avalon" days. Classes began on Wednesday and I assigned only the first 2 chapters for Friday; I was thrilled with how well the class responded to the reading. It is going to take us all semester to finish it--at the rate of 60 or so pages per week--and it's going to be a lot of fun.

What Bradley does with this book is take the story that so many people know (or know at least parts of) and refigure the characters, events, and even geography. She draws particularly on Geoffrey of Monmouth and on Thomas Malory, though she imagines a world that neither of them would recognize or approve of. Many of Bradley's female characters have intelligence and different motives from what are attributed to them by more traditional tellings. Her criticism of Christianity--particularly harsh at times--assumes a Christianity that has more in common with modern theologies than to anything late Classical or medieval, but this isn't a huge flaw.

If you have seen the mini-series but not read the book, I encourage you to read it. The mini-series doesn't even come close to capturing Bradley's story.

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