Literature

Arthurian Literature and Society by Stephen Knight (auth.)

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By Stephen Knight (auth.)

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Williams, A. H. (1969) An /nlroductioll/o /he Hislory ofWales (Cardiff: University of Wales Press). 2 'So great a king': Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae I It is not at all surprising that thc early Welsh had many stories about Arthur and that cventually some wcrc rccordcd in writing. Thc remarkable thing is that the legend of Arthur escaped to the wider Europcan world. Thc direct cause ofthis, as ofso much else that occurrcd in carly mcdicval Europe, was thc wide-ranging military power of the Normans.

The first are cultural, with the giant in charge: thc second are violent, performed by heroic will and at the expense ofthe giant. The lists are not different becausc the text has been garbled in transmission, as has been thought (Foster, 1959, p. 31 and 1974, pp. 71 and 79). The fact that thc tasks performed are not those the giant rcquired expresses the fact that the ruling family extends its power in its own terms, at its own will, not dancing to the tune of its opponents. As Ysbaddaden says when Culhwch claims his 26 ARTHURIAN LITERATURE AND SOCH:TY daughter, 'thou needst not thank me for that, but thank Arthur who has secured her for thee' (p.

J. P. Clancy, sec under Aneirin (1938). ) (1978b) Pa Gwr in 'Rhai 0 Gerddi Ymddiddan L1yfr Du Caerfyrddin', sec und er Roberts, B. F. (1978a), trans. R. Bromwich in R. W. Barber, The Figure qf Arlhur, sec under Evans,,J. G. (1915). Williams, I. ) (1930) Pedeir Keille y Mabillogi ('The Four Branches of the Mabinogi' (Cardiff: University ofWales Press) trans. J. G. ) (1907) Culhwch ae Olwell. Williallls, S . J. and Powell,J. Enoch (eds) (1954) LlyJr Blegywryd ('The Book of Blegywryd') (Cardiff: University ofWales Press), trans.

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