Arthurian Lit Challenge 2014

by romanoir

In my readings of the Arthurian Legends I’ve always focused on Merlin and the mythology of magic in the Middle Ages. I’ve never shown an interest in King Arthur and his Knights outside of film, mostly because I’ve never delved too far into the literature. This challenge is exactly what I need to push me in the right direction. I am ready to become lost in Camelot and the Middle Ages. I plan on reading chronologically through the oldest tales to the most recent and hopefully at the end I will be able to find academic criticism on Arthurian Literature.

The rules:

  1. Challenge will run from January 1 — December 31, 2014.
  2. Sign-ups are open until November 30, 2014.
  3. To sign up, grab the button, write a post, and comment below.  Include the link to your sign-up post for it to count.   Keep track of your reading and write a wrap-up post when you’re done, which you will submit at the end of the year.  I’ll follow your blog, and you follow mine, and we can discuss as we read!
  4. Books chosen for this challenge can overlap with other challenges.
  5. Books can be translated into the language of your choice, though if you are game for trying out some Middle English or Old French, go for it!
  6. Arthurian “cousins” count.  If you wish to read up on Tristan and Iseult orParzival, or go haring off after the Fisher King, feel free.
  7. It is OK to read something pretty tangential that still deals with the Arthurian tradition, such as Charles Williams’ War in Heaven.  If you can make a reasonable case for it, go ahead.  Still, I’d like to keep the main focus on the medieval works.
  8. I have categorized works by date into Old (pre-1800),  Modern (1800-1950), and Recent (1950+).  If you wish to read Recent works, that’s fine, but you must read more Old and Modern works than Recent.  No reading all of Mary Stewart (great as she is) and nothing else! Don’t worry, quite a few works are short and not difficult to read.
  9. Levels will consist of:

Page:  read 2 works, one of which may be Recent.
Squire: read 3 – 4 works.  One may be Recent and one must be Old.
Knight: read 5 – 6 works.  Two may be Recent and one must be Old.
Paladin: read more than 6 works.  Two may be Recent and two must be Old, unless you include a non-fiction work (see Bonus).

Bonus achievement: read a non-fiction work analyzing Arthurian literature.

Personally I am aiming for Knight but I have enough books selected to possibly gain the Paladin achievement + the Bonus. The novels I have chosen for this challenge are (susceptible to change):

  • Arthurian Romances – Chretien de Troyes
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – Anonymous
  • Le Morte d’Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table – Thomas Malory
  • The Romance of Tristan and Iseult – Joseph Bedier 
  • Idylls of the King – Alfred Tennyson
  • The Once and Future King – T.H White
  • The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights – John Steinbeck

I can’t wait to start!