Gloria Allaire first examines evidence concerning owners and readers of Arthurian material to map the ways in which the Arthuriad
criss-crossed the Italian peninsula for several centuries and then concludes the volume with a survey of the visual Italian Arthuriad
to be found in frescoes and mosaics, sculptures, and decorative objects.
Comparing Malory and Pyle's versions of the Arthuriad
, Couch brings out the difficulties in transition the American author encountered while attempting to impose his values on the story.
The creative power of an oath and its performative impact on the narrative world seem to be evident in Thomas Malory's Arthuriad
Continuing the verse tradition, he also foreshadowed the prose cycles in his ambition to produce a coherent Arthuriad
7 See Mansus, 80-4 for Milton's intention to write an Arthuriad
Just as Tolkien's On Fairy-stories essay is the most valuable part of Essays Presented to Charles Williams, so too the most valuable part of Williams and the Arthuriad are the excerpts it contains of a long letter by Williams himself explaining the symbolism in his poems: the 'Lost Letter' of my title.
Also, seeing the excerpts used in Williams and the Arthuriad within their original context highlights what aspects of the work Lewis focused attention upon and what aspects he ignored, misunderstood, or suppressed.
But those first and second layers are, I would say, difficult to tease out, and I doubt that it's possible to combine all four into a coherent whole (though Lewis tries manfully, but I think unsuccessfully, in Williams and the Arthuriad, where he equates Williams's Islam with 'all religions that are afraid of matter and afraid of mystery'; 124).
Edwards's book, then, focuses on the structuring and eventual fortunes of such symbols across Malory's Arthuriad
, in relation to his use of sources.
The next chapter, Charles Williams' Arthuriad
, introduces the rest of the book which is a study of Williams's cycle of poems.
The only word for which this is not the case is the very last one, "delight" which is from Latin, and which finally gestures towards the Latin and Norman sources that for the most part furnish the content of Layamon's, Thomas Malory's, and Tennyson's respective Arthuriads