King Arthur's Enchantresses: Morgan and Her Sisters in Arthurian Tradition

Overview

King Arthur: the very name summons visions of courtly chivalry and towering castles, of windswept battlefields and heroic quests, and above all of the monarch who dies but who one day shall return again. The Arthurian legend lives on as powerfully and enduringly as ever. Yet there is an aspect to this myth which has been neglected, but which is perhaps its most potent part of all. For central to the Arthurian stories are the mysterious, sexually alluring enchantresses, those spellcasters and mistresses of magic ...

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Overview

King Arthur: the very name summons visions of courtly chivalry and towering castles, of windswept battlefields and heroic quests, and above all of the monarch who dies but who one day shall return again. The Arthurian legend lives on as powerfully and enduringly as ever. Yet there is an aspect to this myth which has been neglected, but which is perhaps its most potent part of all. For central to the Arthurian stories are the mysterious, sexually alluring enchantresses, those spellcasters and mistresses of magic who wield extraordinary influence over Arthur's life and destiny, bestriding the Camelot mythology with a dark, brooding presence. Echoing the search for the Grail, Carolyne Larrington takes her readers on a quest of her own - to discover why these dangerous women continue to bewitch us. Her journey takes in the enchantresses as they appear in poetry and painting, on the Internet and TV, in high culture and popular culture. She shows that whether they be chaste or depraved, necrophiliacs or virgins, the Arthurian enchantresses are manifestations of the feared, uncontainable Other, frightening and fascinating in equal measure.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A good book on Arthur's enchantresses, Morgan-le-Fay among them, is long overdue, and this one is very good. Carolyne Larrington's wide knowledge of Arthurian literature, and her sensitivity to the cultural movements and gender politics that have shaped the creation of these women, make this the book of first recourse."—Helen Cooper, Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English in the University of Cambridge

"Original, intelligent, persuasive and always interesting, Carolyne Larrington makes us see the Arthurian legends in a new light. For anyone with the slightest interest in the subject, King Arthur's Enchantresses will be essential reading."—Allan Massie, author of Arthur the King

"If you have always loved the stories of the Knights of the Round Table, but want to know more: then this is the book for you. If you've heard of the names - Lancelot, Guinevere, Morgan Le Fay - but never read the stories: then King Arthur's Enchantresses is the book that you have to read. New ideas and lost interpretations are brought together in this hugely entertaining and clever book that bridges the gap between simple pleasure and real scholarship."—Jeanette Winterson, author and broadcaster "Marvelously subversive and entertaining.: —Bernard Cornwell, Times Online "Repeatedly throws up arresting ideas... No wonder these legendary women have become the focus of a new-age feminist cult."—Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Sunday Times, July 23, 2006 Author Interview— Women's hour, BBC Radio 4, July 17, 2006 "By concentrating on the women and by offering a feminist examination of the Arthurian legends, Carolyne Larrington presents them in a new and challenging light." —Literary Review "Larrington records this harsh judgement, but her wide-ranging book presents Arthurian enchantresses, medieval and modern, as much more interesting and more powerful...Larrington covers a great deal of ground in this scholarly and often entertaining study" —Times Literary Supplement "Larrington presents an enormous amount of information in a readable and jargon-free style...Well-illusrated and frequently insightful...totally enchanting from start to finish." —Fortean Times "Clear writing and organization, useful summaries and careful documentation make King Arthur’s Enchantresses a book to recommend especially for students but also for all of us amateurs and professionals intrigued by feminine characters whose performance of magic tests cultural concepts of gender." - Arthurian

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845111137
  • Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.45 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyne Larrington is Fellow and Tutor in Medieval English at St John's College, Oxford. She is the author and editor of several books, which include Women and Writing in Medieval Literature (1995), The Woman's Companion to Mythology (1997) and The Poetic Edda: Essays on Mythological Poetry (2001). An expert on Arthurian myth, she is a regular contributor to TV and radio, and recently appeared on Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time (Radio 4) to discuss the cultural history of the Holy Grail.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
• List of Abbreviations
• List of Illustrations
• Introduction
• Magic and the Enchantress
• Morgan and Arthur
• Morgan, Lancelot and Gawain
• Morgan, Other Knights and Enchantresses
• Viviane, the Damoiselle Cacheresse and the Lady of the Lake
• The Queen of Orkney
• Vivien and the Victorians
• Morgan, Morgause and the Moderns *Bibliography*

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Great Service

    Great service, wonderful book

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