To explain my suggestion. You did say other than reading or telling stories, but something told me "Morte" should have signifigance. It is the original popular telling of the legend, even if romantacized to the point of the real story being oblivion.
Or read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, or Tristan & Isolde. I think I have both in olde English.
Another way you could celebrate would be to hold a candlelight vigil, where people tell their impressions of what Arthur is, and what he meant to the peoples of England in the Dark Ages. Its amazing the different renditions we learn as children, and how popular media has changed that impression of what life really was like, who these people really were.
I loved the movie from 2004 with Clive Owen. It is one of my favorite movies. In fact, it respawned my writing! Yes, fan fiction though it may be, I jumped out of my writers block into a story of my own making and reminded me of why I love the story of Arthur so much, no matter the rendition. Now, it has yet again spawned my creativity into an orignal story that I hope to shop if I ever finish it (maybe in my forties hah...)
Have you ever read the Bernard Cornwell Arthur series? Its quite a fascinating take, without a lot of the mysticism of Zimmer-Bradley. I love it, and re-read it every now and then.
I have always believed that Arthur was an idea spawned from a hero, and a symbol for something much bigger than one man could ever be.
Edited at 2007-12-19 06:11 pm (UTC)
I think Mallory was the first written down version we have of the stories, rather than that he was the original. If the historic Arthur died in 537 (so they say), then stories evolved for 800-900 years befor eMallory got his hands on them. As far as I know, Mallory is the one who added the affair of Lancelot and Guenivere to the tale. I'm not a huge Mallory fan, even though I have to acknowlege that we owe him a huge debt for writing it down.
I have Tolkien's version of Sir Gawain and the Green knight.
I love the candlelight aspect. Apparently, in the middle ages, Arthur's birthday was considered to be December 21 (the shortest night of the year), so the candle light angle really ties in.
I haven't actually done a lot of modern reading about "inspired by Arthur and Camelot, etc" books. I made the mistake of years ago reading MZB's book without really knowing the whole story. To this day, some aspects of the whole saga seem "wrong" to me in their "cannonical" versions because they are different from what MZB wrote.
I didn't even bother putting people like Monty Python into this poll because their movie was so silly that I didn't think it changed anything for anyone. I was trying to think of people who really helped shape the way we view Arthur and the whole sage today and these 3 seemed to be the ones that lept out at me.
Ooh! The version of Green Knight I have was edited by Tolkien! I am struggling through it, haven't picked it up in awhile. The olde English I am still learning how to read, and I lost my link to an Olde English dictionary online.
Mists of Avalon was an amazing book, and I do re-read that one from time to time. She really focused on the mystical aspects, and I love th way she writes/wrote. Bernard Cornwell's books is actually a retelling of the legend of Arthur from the perspective of one of his knights, named Derfel. It is amazing, and really depicts the struggle between Christianity and Pagans well, without getting preachy.
he also does one on Stonehenge that is unbelievable.
Yes. on the 21st! Gosh that is Friday! *headdesk*
I have a "Arthur book of Days" that I usually pull out and flip through on that day. One year I did a filmfest, where I watched everything campy, good, or silly for Arthur movies. Excalibur, that one with Sean Connery and Richard Gere, of course Monty Python, another one I can't remember the name of... all in good fun. Someday maybe I'll visit Tintagel and dream. :)
One thing I love about this legend is that it still endures today, and is as strong as it was when Mallory set it to paper, and added the romance!
Any suggestions for food? Nothing makes a good family tradtion like specific foods.
Hmmm... I would suggest maybe a roasted chicken, with potatoes, carrots, some nice home made bread, and of course wine (or juice) in very pretty chalice-like cups. Or you could go with a roast beef. Easy to cook, pop it in slow cooker or oven and let it do its thing! Its simple, and would be somewhat traditional-type food, no? Rabbit too, but not as easy to come by and lots of preparation. Cabbage was a traditional food back then, a cabbage salad with raisins or something might be fun to add in.
Beer was also traditional, or mead perhaps.
A dessert with apples?
I thought of doing something with apples. Isle of apples and all of that. Oooh - mead would be good. I'm not sure if the LCBO would carry it.
I thought brave Sir Robin was real. I feel so disillusioned and hurt now.
I think he was more apocryphal. I believe in some versions he married the tooth fairy and they bred unicorns.
You are correct. Mallory gets so much credit for being the first to codify it. I forgot about him.
What Malory is credited with by scholars is being the first to gather all or most of the current stories of his time into English print. In the fifteenth century most of the written Arthurian works that survive today had for centuries been produced in France (including the romances of Chretien de Troyes, who seems to have invented Lancelot). That's why Malory keeps referring to his source as "the Frensshe book"; most of his work is a retelling of the Old French Vulgate cycle, also known as the Lancelot-Grail cycle, of romances from the twelfth century (shortly after Chretien wrote). There were some works in English, and Malory made use of some of them too. But the influence of Malory's work is that it was a compendium, and it was in English, and it was one of the first English works to be mass-produced by a printing press.
Ah yes, Cretien! Me too I forgot about him! We are always inundated with Mallory as the first popular telling, and the older versions get pushed aside, since his was so very swashbuckling *grin*... That and the printing press, eh? Makes it so much easier.
Do you know where I could get a copy of Cretien's de Troy's script? Is it even (re)printed or online anywhere? I have never read it, believe it or not, and would love to at some point.
I like listening to Heather Dale's Arthurian stuff.
My nominee for "worst travesty in the name of Arthurian legend" is a book I forget what it's called but it's about Merlin's daughter Wren. In love with Arthur, naturally. Bears his children. Illegitamitely, of course - he is married to Guinevere. And Nimue and Morgan are evil incestous witches breeding demons. Or something.
There are other modern Athurian things that I have highly enjoyed though. There's a kids book called "I am Mordred" (forget the author again) which I quite liked.
I liked the MZB but I got into her retelling of Cassandra's story more. And the movie they made of the MZB one (in which Morgause was a regular old black hat evil no nuance witch) was really stupid.
I don't own any of Heather Dale's stuff. If I was ever to get one album, which would you recommend?
There are a lot of modern twists on the Arthurian legend - some good, some bad. I think MZB's was well written. People can debate whether they liked what she did to the tales, but at least she is a good writer. I may read more of her stuff at some point.
Arthurian legend inspired music: Either May Queen or Trial of Lancelot. Trial of Lancelot has one of my favourite HD songs on it (Mordreds Lullaby) but as a whole May Queen is probably the better album.
Heather Dale in general: Road to Santiago. It only has a couple of Arthurian songs on it, but the album as a whole is just wonderful.
Christmas music: This Endris Night. Her collection of renaissance and medieval Christmas music. Very pretty and a marked improvement for those of us who find non-musical musak (e.g. Frosty the Snowman) annoying.