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The World of King Arthur and His Court: People, Places, Legend, and Lore

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Sumptuous artwork and compelling text capture the magic and power of Arthur's Camelot

Questions about King Arthur abound: Did King Arthur really exist? What was he like? Where exactly was his kingdom? This mixture of legend, anecdote, fact, and speculation frames the answers to such questions by showing that in the long run they may not be all that important. Sifting through both literary and historical sources, Kevin Crossley-Holland illuminates the essential aspects of King ...

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Overview

Sumptuous artwork and compelling text capture the magic and power of Arthur's Camelot

Questions about King Arthur abound: Did King Arthur really exist? What was he like? Where exactly was his kingdom? This mixture of legend, anecdote, fact, and speculation frames the answers to such questions by showing that in the long run they may not be all that important. Sifting through both literary and historical sources, Kevin Crossley-Holland illuminates the essential aspects of King Arthur's chivalrous world that have kept people returning to it for inspiration and entertainment down through the ages.

Here are the passionate, magical stories of the king and his sword, Excalibur; of Mordred, King Arthur's villainous son; of the enchanters Merlin, Nimue, and Morgan le Fay; of Lancelot and Guinevere. Here too are the daily lives of knights and ladies and pages; instructions on how to be a butler; and much more.

Witty, engaging excerpts from medieval texts create a palpable feel for how human behavior was instructed and commented upon so many hundreds of years ago. Peter Malone's exquisite paintings glow like brilliant jewels, giving visible testimony to the author's claim that "medieval men and women...understood how each drop of water, leaf, and stone had an energy of its own."

Surveys the known history of King Arthur, the legends and lore surrounding him, his treatment in literature, and the possible historical background of his associates and stories.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Arthurian legends have enchanted audiences for more than fourteen centuries. CrossleyHolland, a specialist in medieval literature who won the Carnegie Medal for his translation of Old English riddles, draws on a wide range of medieval material. Starting with Geoffrey of Monmouth's twelfthcentury History of the Kings of Britain, which shaped the Arthurian legend as we know it today, he brings in other medieval literature such as the Welsh Triads, the lays of Marie de France, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the works of Sir Thomas Malory. The author cites nonArthurian medieval sources to introduce concepts important for understanding the Middle Ages. This work's short, illustrated vignettes acquaint readers with Arthurian characters, places, and events, both historical and legendary. Readers learn a little about Merlin, Excalibur, and the Lady of the Lake, as well as about topics as diverse as medieval manners, romances, troubadours, the Crusades, armor, and chivalry. CrossleyHolland reiterates that there is no single legend about Arthur, and he shows how many different sources have contributed to the story we know today. Malone's delightful illustrations are as historically accurate as the text. Readers new to Arthurian themes and those who have long enjoyed them will take pleasure in this book. Although its format suggests a younger readership, any Arthurian fan will enjoy learning the origins of various parts of the legend and may be spurred to seek out some of the medieval sources. Index. Illus. Maps. VOYA CODES: 5Q 2P M (Hard to imagine it being any better written; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 1999(orig.1998),Dutton/Lodestar, Ages 12 to 14, 125p, $25. Reviewer: Rebecca Barnhouse
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
If you ever struggled through the multitude of characters and places in The Once and Future King and wished for Merlin to conjure you a road map, you will appreciate this imaginatively illustrated guide through the world of Arthurian characters, events, and legends. This is a book about the Arthurian stories invented by romantic writers, and it brings the period of Arthur's medieval creators to life with carefully selected excerpts from period texts. The historical Arthur gets a couple of chapters at the very end of the book but as the author correctly points out, it is not the fur-clad tribal chief who occupies our fantasies; it is the Arthur of Camelot who lives on. This book provides an authoritative source on how Arthur and his knights and ladies might have lived.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-The perennial fascination with the stories of King Arthur and his knights dates from the early Middle Ages and continues to the present. In this volume, Crossley-Holland has gathered bits of the legends and pieces of medieval writing to immerse readers in images from the Matter of Britain. He begins with short essays on knighthood, chivalry, and Geoffrey of Monmouth, the 12th-century Welsh priest who first wrote of Arthur, but there is no clear organization to the rest of the volume. Gawain, Guinevere, Lancelot, Mordred, and Merlin all have a few pages devoted to them, interspersed with essays that cover food and clothing, the Crusades, courtly love, etc. All are profusely illustrated in bright color with full-page pictures or page decorations. Occasional snippets of medieval writing such as carols, poems, or "how to" advice on dressing a lord or serving as a butler lend variety to the writing, but seem to be placed randomly throughout the text. The last piece discusses the difficulty of uncovering the "Historical Arthur," a figure from a much earlier time than the stories that place him in the medieval period. An index aids in finding specific pieces. This volume serves as a companion to any version of the stories, for those who want to sort out characters and for background information as they read.-Connie C. Rockman, Stratford Library Association, CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525461678
  • Publisher: Penguin Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/5/1999
  • Edition description: First American Edition
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: NC1200L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.06 (w) x 10.75 (h) x 0.56 (d)

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