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King Arthur: Inventing the Past

ENGL 021.950

Penn Summer in London, 2013 (June 24-July 25, 2013)


From the Middle Ages to the present, stories about King Arthur, the brave deeds of the knights of the Round Table, and Merlin's mysterious prophecies have mesmerized readers and audiences. In this course we will study nearly 1000 years of literature about King Arthur, beginning with Geoffrey of Monmouth's twelfth-century History of the Kings of Britain, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and ending with Mark Twain, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and the fantasy fiction classic, The Once and Future King. Throughout the course, we will think about what legends about Arthur mean to the way we write history and the ways in which we view our collective pasts (and futures). Assignments will include response papers, an oral presentation, and a final exam.


fulfills requirements
Sector 3: Early Literature to 1660 of the Standard Major