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Syllabus for a Course in Medieval and Modern Arthurian Legend
for Undergraduate and Graduate Students
by Prof. Cynthia Gravlee, University of Montevallo

Eng. 419/519-001 POLICY STATEMENT Spr., 2005
3 hrs. Credit

Professor: Dr. Cynthia Gravlee Office: 203C Comer Hours: 11:00-12:00 MWF; 12:30-1:30 and 5:00-6:00 P.M. Tu; and by appointment M-F. Phone: 6417 or 6420 FAX: 665-6422 E-Mail: (off-campus) or Gravlee, Cynthia (on- campus).

Course Goals: After reviewing the medieval tales of Sir Thomas Malory, the sourcefor our modern authors, we will focus on representative works of the 19th and 20th centuries. We will also learn from Arthurian films and will end the course with The Natural, a film based on the novel by Bernard Malamud.

Texts: King Arthur and His Knights: Selected Tales by Sir Thomas Malory, ed. Eugene Vinaver; Idylls of the King, Lord Alfred Tennyson; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Mark Twain; The Once and Future King, T.H. White (the source for the film, The Sword in the Stone and the play and film, Camelot.

Format: Discussion and Lecture

1. A series of responses to our primary texts. You will be given lists of suggested topics for written and verbal responses on characters, symbols, themes, and issues. You can also choose your own topics. The responses should be clear, organized, and either analytical or creative. Come to each class meeting with a written response, and be prepared to present your ideas to the class. Your ten highest grades will be averaged for 50% of the course grade.

2. Oral Reports; Attendance and Participation: 20% of course grade Undergraduates will give an oral report on a topic relevant to our studies from material accessed from the internet or hard copy; this should be accompanied by a handout and/or transparency presentation. Option: a dramatic reading and explication of an Arthurian poem. Guidelines will be provided for your report. Graduate students will read and report on a modern Arthurian text. A list of books available in our library will be provided. Handouts should be provided for the class. Guidelines will be given for these.

Graduates and undergraduates will report to the class on their final project during the last week of class.

Attendance and participation are expected. An extra oral report will be expected for any absence over one. Three or more can result in failure in the course, as you will be missing a substantial amount of work.

3. Final Project: (30% of course grade)
This can be a critical research essay that is generated by discussion, reading, and/or your written responses to the texts. Undergraduate essays should be 10-12 pp. and graduate essays should be 12-15pp.

A short story, long narrative poem, or play with Arthurian characters and themes. This should be accompanied by an annotated bibliography of the research that inspired your creativity.

A teaching project that includes specific assignments. This should also be accompanied by an annotated bibliography. All projects will be due on the day, and at the time, scheduled for our final exam.

Plagiarism: I regret having to address this, but it has become necessary. A plagiarized essay or report will be given a zero, a report will be filed, and an F will be recorded for the course. Trust your own ideas; please don't plagiarize! Credit any source you use: verbal or written.

Aid to Disabled Americans: The following is the University's official statement. "The University of Montevallo provides equal opportunity to qualified students. If you have a disability (medical, learning, psychological, etc.) and wish to request disability-related accommodations to complete course requirements, contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (located in Main Hall, rear entrance; 665-6250). Course requirements cannot be waived, but reasonable accommodations may be provided based on disability documentation and course objectives. Accommodations cannot be made retroactively."

Welcome to the community of Arthurian scholars!

Eng. 419/519 SYLLABUS: KING ARTHUR IN LIT. & FILM Spr., 2005

Tu 1/11 Intro. to the course. Discussion and films on Le Morte D'Arthur and Knights and Armor.

Tu 1/18 Discuss the following from King Arthur: "Merlin"; "Balin"; "Pelleas & Ettard"; "The Knight of the Cart"; "Lancelot and Elaine." Intro. to the Grail legend. Film on the Grail.

Tu 1/25 Discuss "The Holy Grail"; "Poisoned Apple"; "Fair Maid of Astolat"; "The Death of King Arthur." Excerpts from the film, Excalibur. Intro. to Tennyson.

Tu 2/1 Discuss Idylls: "Dedication"--"Lancelot and Elaine."

Tu 2/8 Discuss Idylls: "The Holy Grail" "To the Queen." Intro. to Twain.

Tu 2/15 Discuss A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and watch the film version starring Bing Crosby.

Tu 2/22 Intro. to T.H. White. Film: The Mists of Avalon.

Tu 3/1 Finish film. Discuss The Sword in the Stone.
Note: on Wed., 3/2, acclaimed B'ham actress, Dolores Hydock, will be presenting Silence, a medieval French romance focusing on gender-bending and its results. She will be accompanied by Pan Harmonium, playing medieval music. Arthur isn't in the story, but Merlin is. LeBaron, 7:30 P.M. Lets all try to attend!

Tu 3/8 Discuss The Queen of Air and Darkness.

Tu 3/15 Discuss The Ill-Made Knight.

Tu 3/22 Discuss Candle in the Wind. Scenes from Camelot.

Spring Break

Tu 4/5 Graduate reports on Arthurian books. Intro. to The Natural.

Tu 4/12 Film of The Natural. Discussion.

Tu 4/19 Individual conferences on final projects.

Tu 4/26 Oral reports on final projects.

Tu 5/2 Turn in final projects. (Date of our final exam).

Note: Undergraduate oral reports will be scheduled at appropriate times.
A separate handout will be given on suggested topics.
Time permitting, we'll work in scenes from various Arthurian films.

Topics for Discussion and Journal Responses

These are broad topics that consistently appear in Romance. You can narrow them to fit the work you're discussing.


Male Bonding; Female Bonding; Male/Female Bonding

Identity Searches

Conflicting Loyalties


Portrayals of Women/Gender Roles

Family Relationships and Rivalries


Magic and Illusion/Disguise

Love and Marriage/ Courtly Love



Freedom and Confinement










Story Telling





Book List for Graduate Oral Reports and Papers (You can choose one of these).

Berger, Thomas. Arthur Rex: A Legendary Novel. PS 3552 E719 A7

Bradley, Marion Zimmer. The Mists of Avalon. PS 3552 R28 M5

Bradshaw, Gillian. Hawk of May (not in library, but you can use my copy).

Kingdom of Summer. PS 3552 R235 K5
In Winter's Shadow. PS 3552 R235 15

Godwin, Parke. Firelord. PS 3557 O316 F5

Newman, Sharon. The Chessboard Queen. PS 3564 E926 C4

Guinevere Evermore PS 3564 E926 G83

Quiller-Couch & Daphne Du Maurier. Castle Dor. PR 5194 C3

Robinson, E.A. Collected Poems (Merlin, Tristram, & Lancelot). PS3535 O25 A17

Steinbeck, John. The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights PR 2043 S67

Cannery Row PS 3537 T3234 C3

Stewart, Mary. The Crystal Cave. (Not in library; you can borrow mine).

The Hollow Hills. PR 6069 T46 H6
The Last Enchantment PR 6069 T46 L3
The Wicked Day. PR 6069 T46 W5

Percy, Walker. Lancelot. PS 3566 E6912 L3

Woolley, Persia. Child of the Northern Spring. PS 3573 O68 C4

Queen of the Summer Stars (Not in library; I have it).
Guinevere: The Legend in Autumn. PS 3573. O68 G85

Cornwall, Bernard. The Winter King: A Novel of Arthur. PR 6053 O75 W53

Barr, Mike & Bolland Brian. Camelot 3000. 9 A futuristic comic; not in library, but I have it).

Reserve List: Carmichael Library ; Spring, 2005; King Arthur in Lit. & Film, English 419/519 Dr. Cynthia Gravlee

Loan Period: 3 days

Call # Author Title
PS 374 A78 M38 Mathis, Andrew The King Arthur Myth in Modern American Lit.
DA 1525 A7 K57 Sklar, Elizabeth & Donald Hoffman King Arthur in Popular Culture
PS 169 A9 L86Lupack, Alan & Barbara T. Lupack King Arthur in America
PN 1995.9 A75 K56 Harty, KevinKing Arthur on Film
PN 685 K56Lagorio, Valerie & Mildred DayKing Arthur through the Ages Vol. 2
PR 5560 R43Reed, JohnPerception & Design in Tennyson's Idylls
PR5560 R6Rosenberg, JohnThe Fall of Camelot: A Study of Tennyson's Idylls
PS 1331 8548 Smith, Henry NashMark Twain: A Collection of Critical Essays

On Reference Shelves:

PN685 L3 Lacy, N. & Ashe, G. The Arthurian Handbook
DA 1525 A78 Lacy & Ashe The Arthurian Encyclopedia

There are many more Arthurian books on the shelves. I can refer you to those that will be most helpful for your individual projects.

Topics for Undergraduate Oral Reports;

"The Defense of Guinevere" (William Morris)

"The Lady of Shalott" (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Celtic Folklore

Celtic Religion/Christianity

Medieval Magic

Women Troubadours


Unicorn Legend

Arthurian Ballet


Morgan Le Fay

Cult of the Virgin



Arthurian Opera


Medieval Costume (Women's and Men's)

Armor and Weapons

Pre-Raphaelite Artists


Web Site for Medieval Studies; Medieval Labyrinth




King Arthur in Lit. and Film (Gravlee)

Undergrad. oral reports should be accompanied by a print-out from your web site for each class member.
Your report on your final project should include a prospectus (if you're writing a critical essay) and an annotated bibliography for each class member.
If you're writing a story, narrative poem , poetry collection, or play you should have a cast of characters, plot summary, and statement of theme, as well as an annotated bibliography.
The teaching projects should include lesson plans and lists of materials, as well as an annotated bibliography
Graduate student's final projects should follow the guidelines listed above, but longer papers will be expected, as noted in your policy statement.

Graduate Book Reports :

1. You should have an evaluative review that is about three typed, double-spaced pages long. This will be turned into me.

2. Please provide a typed handout for me and each class member. This should give bibliographical information on your text; a summary statement about the book's focus; an annotated list of major characters, and a sentence outline of your report.
Sample summary statement: The Wicked Day, the fourth volume in Mary Stewart's fictional series on Arthurian legend, takes a sympathetic view of Mordred's attitudes and aspirations as it recounts his growth to manhood, his friendships, and his conflicts at King Arthur's court.

3. You should give a ten minute presentation of your review.

Our aim in providing handouts on all reports is to enable each student to leave the class with a portfolio of Arthurian materials for teaching or further study.

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