Thursday, March 01, 2007

Romance: King Arthur

I've just finished reading The Mists of Avalon. I've read a number of modern rewrites of the Arthurian story, and none of them quite sit right with me. This one no less so than the others. But I was reading it for a book discussion I'll be joining soon, and it will be interesting to discuss there, even though it isn't going to make my Top 100 list of favorite books or anything.

Maybe it's just because Romance has been on my mind recently, but I couldn't help while reading The Mists of Avalon but get to thinking about the structure of the Arthurian tale as a Romance. In a sense, the whole cycle of Arthur stories could be seen as something other than a Romance, but still, at the heart of the tale lies heroic quests, the essence of Romance. The exalted language used to tell the stories, the inclusion of the fantastic, it all makes for a great Romance.

Similarly, I am not usually into the King Arthur movies either. I like Disney's The Sword in the Stone, but couldn't stand the more recent King Arthur.

I love the older Arthurian tales. I've been less of a fan of all the more recent rewrites I've come across, but perhaps that is partly because they don't quite capture the Romance of the story in the way I wish they would.

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