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King Arthur: Myth-Making and History Hardcover – 25 Apr 2002
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'This thought-provoking volume is worth reading' - Guy Halsall, THES
'Higham's survey is an admirably measured and wide-ranging contribution.' - Ecclesiastical History
About the Author
N. J. Higham is Professor of Early Medieval and Landscape History at the University of Manchester and a Fellow of the society of Antiquaries. His recent publications include (Re)Reading Bede: The Ecclesiastical History in Context and he is the editor of Britons in Anglo-Saxon England (2007).--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
What is brilliant about this book is that it puts all the written sources about Arthur in their political and ecclesiastical settings showing that very little of the early writings about him were done purely as a story or a 'history' and that they all had a political agenda behind them. I knew this about Geoffrey of Monmouth's famous work but hadn't realised just how much the work ascribed to Ninnius was the product of Gwynedd's power and the backlash to Bede's anti-British writings.
It's a fascinating rather than a fun read and much of it is hard going but if you stick with it you're certainly rewarded with, not only, gems about the reasons behind the stories of Arthur but a better understanding of the 6th Century world he was thought to have lived in as Nick Higham delves deep into the so called Dark Ages.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book is about whence came the IDEA of Arthur. The author does review the extremely limited original sources which mention Arthur and then works to explain what the purpose was behind the idea of Arthur. Who needed him as a symbol? How did they use Arthur for their own dynastic advancement?
The author focuses on the pre-Galfridian (pre-Geoffrey of Monmouth) Latin texts which mention Arthur. He provides historic contextual background to explain where these works were written, why they were written, and who their intended original audience was.
Once the original purpose for the idea of Arthur is established, the book then reviews the rise and fall and rise again of the Arthurian legend from the French troubadours to the Tudor kings on through the Victorians and up to the present day cults of Camelot.
An excellent and fast read for the general public about a scholarly topic that has been much neglected.
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