Ashe Geoffrey - The discovery of King Arthur

Author : Ashe Geoffrey
Title : The discovery of King Arthur
Year : 1985

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Introduction. Mention King Arthur, and the name conjures up a romantic image. The image is richly complex, comprising not merely a single character but a group, and a constellation of themes. Beside the King stand his Queen, Guinevere, and his enchanter, Merlin. Their home is Camelot, the royal city of a mysterious, wonderful Britain. It houses the Round Table, where Arthur presides over a company of knights headed by Lancelot, devoted to the noblest ideals. In war he quells his enemies with a magical sword, Excalibur. If we explore the scene more deeply, we see a brooding tragedy overhanging it. The King’s reign is only a "brief shining moment"; he is doomed to be plotted against, betrayed, and brought down. Camelot must fall. Common sense would say that this is all remote, irrelevant, medieval; a daydream of romancers in a past age and an obsolete society. Yet since the middle of the twentieth century the spell has strengthened, not weakened. Arthur’s legend has inspired musicals, bestselling novels, successful films. It has even been recreated politically. In the eyes of many President Kennedy’s Washington was a new Camelot, Kennedy himself a new Arthur. Twenty years after his passing a commemorative feature in Newsweek magazine could take this notion for granted, and comment that all presidential candidates since 1960 have "had to run against the myth of Camelot." ...

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