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King Arthur Paperback – January 4, 1989

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (January 4, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060971827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060971823
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,718,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Though Goodrich asserts that hers "is the first book to have explored very minutely and in the original languages both the historical and literary material concerning King Arthur," numerous Arthurian scholars have written similarly researched books with similar conclusions. Goodrich assumes ancient authors were accurate, and she has made the following findings: the real Arthur operated "between what is now Scotland and what is now England," rather than in the South; he died near Douglas; and Avalon was St. Patrick's Isle, near Man. Her romantic sensibilities skate over the treacherous evidence and find geographic certainties everywhere. Despite these drawbacks, this is enjoyable reading for the public library patron interested in King Arthur. Don Fry, Poynter Inst. for Media Studies, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Norma Lorre Goodrich, Ph.D., K.C., FSA Scot, has been teaching for forty-five years and is a professor emeritus at the Claremont Colleges. She is the author of King Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, Heroines, Priestesses, Ancient Myths, and Medieval Myths. She lives in Claremont, California, with her husband.

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Customer Reviews

There is research in her books as well as story.
Barbra L. Moran
One very disturbing thing is that for this book to be so popular, many readers must feel that they can follow and evaluate its argument.
If not,it wouldn't be a good idea to start with this.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Nelson R. Willis on October 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure if this book even merits one star, but it was the lowest rating allowed by Amazon's format. Take it from a guy who has been studying this subject for years: this is probably the very worst book you can find on this subject. I am encouraged by the fact that some people recognize this, but I am equally dismayed that many people have been fooled into thinking that this and Goodrich's related books are good scholarship. While Goodrich may be highly intelligent and educated, she appears also to be out of touch with reality. I am not saying this to be mean or spiteful! That is simply my impression from watching her irresponsibly butcher and rewrite history with shameless abandon. There is a tenet which says that the most reliable interpretation of the evidence will almost always be the simplest, and this is the problem I have with Goodrich; her theories (which are really assumptions and presumptions) are so wacky and overly complicated that they appear to be the product of a mind which has blurred the line between history and fiction. She goes on and on and on and on, writing as if in a manic state, giving little clue as to where she's comming from or where she's going with her tedious, blow-by-blow analyses of medieval romances, which she then tries to pass off as scholarly proofs of her rediculous ideas. If that were not enough of a crime against historical scholarship, she then proceeds in her bibliography to viciously slander great scholars (such as Leslie Alcock and Geoffrey Ashe, whose books I've reviewed as well) and their excellent, ground-breaking research.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By truthreader on February 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
I seem to one of the few reviewers that see this book in more than one way. I originally read this when it was first published and though I realise it is somewhat haphazard in its presentation and divurges too often on its subject matter. Also is sometimes doubtful in its conjectures and inaccurate and the editing process used is very unorthodox,(to say the least),there is merit in the depth of her research and fresh idealism. The overt feminism at times and some of her theories are rather debatable though. For example-the gaelic and pict ideas and tendencies to believe wholeheartedly the 'clues' of medieval romance writers like about the doves and comb concerning Guinivere appear overdone and gullible. Nevertheless, the possibility that Geoffrey wasn't always wrong or lying and the consideration of the in-depth Northern hypothesis is interesting and led me to further reseach of my own. Unfortunately, many writers cloak their pet theories in factual attire and need to keep some perspective in scholarship more evident. I am sure that is one reason she is so harshly criticized. There has been much research and writing done since this time and more theories and evidence have been put forward, so to sum up, as long as your well versed in various aspects of Arthuriana this is a fairly good book to peruse all in all. If not,it wouldn't be a good idea to start with this.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
For years, Norma Lorre Goodrich has tried to fleece an unsuspecting public with her absurd works of Arthurian pseudo-scholarship. Hundreds of books, articles, and conference presentations annually address the question of King Arthur; not all of them are wonderful, but among them are some real gems. However, since they're aimed at a scholarly audience, the public doesn't generally know about them, and Goodrich, realizing she can profit from the gullibility of people curious about King Arthur, comes along with her ersatz academic moonshine and nets lucrative book contracts.
Goodrich's most alarming fault is that she takes literature as history, leading to chapter after chapter of fiction, speculation, and wild conjecture. Goodrich's books are NOT the honest investigations of a scholar, and I urge people interested in King Arthur to talk to their English or history professors and discover books by historians, archaeologists, and literary historians who pursue the truth with objectivity and honesty.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert Fripp on September 17, 2007
Format: Library Binding
Reviewers' opinions of Norma Lorre Goodrich's "King Arthur" jump from those who hate it to those who love it. There's not much middle ground. "What grief and what a shame!" as Lancelot says on page 160. It's time to bridge the extremes. Speaking of bridges, I shall cross carefully, as if on Lancelot's sword bridge (p.167). Of course, as Goodrich tells us, the blade-like quality of that bridge was nothing of the sort. It was a mis-translation which gave French listeners a good laugh to imagine English knights doing something as stupid as walking on blades. If only Goodrich employed more humor she would score points for explaining such pieces of arcana, leaving fewer reviewers mad at her. (I can't resist this digression. Lancelot's sword bridge falls into the category of Cinderella's slippers. In the original French they weren't glass--verre. They were made of highly prized squirrel fur--vaire. English ears never learned to discriminate between those words.)

Here's what is really at work between these covers: impeccable, exhaustive research is rescued from its envelope of academic writing by a great index, making "King Arthur" a valuable reference book. And not just about Arthur and his court, but also the machinations of King Henry II of England and his consort Eleanor of Aquitaine, who pressed the legends of Arthur into use as a political tool. Like Arthur, they ruled a large empire (from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees) whose peoples had different customs, spoke different languages and owed loyalty to different lords.
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