In sum, though this dictionary slights legend for history, and for a particular version of history, it will still be not only fascinating but useful for exploring the legion of characters that make up the matter of Britain
in both history and legend.
The contributors share an interest in the political vitality of the matter of Britain
, but their different formations perforce equip them with differing points of view.
In search of its heroine, the book takes us chronologically through the Matter of Britain
, in 'history' and 'romance', from Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia--whose ambiguous portrayal of the queen Bethlehem justly identifies as imaginatively stimulating for other writers--through Chretien's poems, the French Vulgate Cycle, and Prose Tristan, to later Middle English recensions and compositions, culminating with Malory's Morte Darthur.
Shakespeare, Spenser and the Matter of Britain
insists that English Renaissance literature must be read within the context of the changing relationships between England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland as the four nations of the British Isles were brought together under one Crown.
PALGRAVE MACMILLAN has brought out a new volume in its series, Early Modern Literature in History: Andrew Hadfield's provocative study, Shakespeare, Spenser and the Matter of Britain
Despite the continued fascination of "The Matter of Britain
," as the tales of Arthur and his Round Table are called, Arthur's very existence is a subject of vigorous debate, and nobody truly knows exactly where "Camelot" was, although many historic sites in England and Wales claim the honor.
All myths express a sense of place and the Matter of Britain
is particularly argued over by England, Brittany, Wales and Cornwall.
Originality was not a goal; poets borrowed, adapted, and embellished a common international stock of stories, characters, and incidents from three sources: the subject matter of Britain
(Arthur and his knights), the subject matter of France (Charlemagne and his followers), and the subject matter of Rome (stories from classical antiquity, including those about the Trojan heroes and the founding of Rome).
Leaving Europe aside, as a lot of this criticism tends to do, there is the small matter of Britain