English Arthurian Literature (6244 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

The Celtic Background

Whether Arthur was historical or fictive has been debated since the Middle Ages. The Arthurian legends originated among the Britons, the Celtic ancestors of the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons of Brittany, but little early written evidence survives. Perhaps the first reference appears in an elegy about fallen heroes, Y [The] Gododdin. Written in Welsh, it originated in former Briton territory in southern Scotland or in northern Britain in what is now Cumbria and has been dated anywhere from the 7th to the 11th centuries. One hero is said to have been great, “but no Arthur”. If Gododdin was written c. 600, and if the allusion is not a later interpolation, the elegy would …

Citation:
Kennedy, Edward Donald. "English Arthurian Literature". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 October 2014
[https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=19367, accessed 12 November 2019.]


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