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King of the Celts: Arthurian Legends and Celtic Tradition Paperback – November 1, 1993


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King of the Celts: Arthurian Legends and Celtic Tradition + The Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend (Oxford Paperback Reference)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions; First Edition edition (November 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892814527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892814527
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #796,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Markale opens with an argumentative introduction about historians' general reluctance to deal with myths and oral traditions. She moves directly into a discussion of how Arthurian lore in the medieval world was comcreated by ardent and undiscriminating propagandists of the courtly nobility who misappropriated Celtic legends and in the process betrayed and ridiculed them. Her survey of Arthurian legendry in Celtic history purports that through such Celtic notions of kingship, especially the king's obligation to the people, his role was clarified as more than one of personal gain or divine right. For serious students of Arthurian legends and history. Denise Perry Donavin

Review

"King Arthur fans, take note: your dreamy images of this rapturous medieval period will never be the same after you've read Markale's scholarly and luminous revision." (NAPRA Trade Journal)

"No student or lover of Arthurian bravado and myth should pass up this book. You will immediately be caught up in Markale's telling of the familiar tale, and enchanted by the new twists on the old story." (New Age Retailer)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Megan Miller on March 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
A refreshing take on Arthurian legend, literature, history, mythology and their intersection. Markale offers theories on how different societies constructed their history and mythology (for any historiographers in the crowd) as well as a synthesis of different versions of Arthurian legend. The French courtly romances of the 12th and 13th century are not excluded, but Markale places more emphasis on the earlier sources (both extant and interpolated) for the Celtic tales. A compelling portrait of Arthur and the Celts emerges.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By The English Chap on October 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
No other book covers the legend of King Arthur better than this!! From the political aspects to the mythical, this book is great for any who find King Arthur of interest. It undermines the myth and trys to dig at the truth, and on the way you will find that many of the stories about Arthur were for political gain during the time they were written. This books goes VERY DEEP, and if you get discouraged by heavy books do not get this! But if you are inpired to search the endless wonders of King Arthur, then get this book and enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David R. Peters on October 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
King Arthur lives in legend and in memory, for good reason.

Mr. Markale opens (and closes) with a paean to Marxist Dialectical Materialism as an analysis tool, but in the middle proceeds to write a refreshingly thorough history of the Legend of King Arthur.

Drawing upon all written stories (legends?) of Arthur and then placing them in a context of Celtic cultural practices makes the legend both understandable and, if possible, more captivating. He is perhaps too desirous of perceiving Celtic culture to be more deserving of praise over the stratified (clss-based) Roman culture, to the extent that he seeks to minimize the Roman element in the fusion of Celtic and Roman as personified in Arthur.

He does note the British Celts who fled to Brittany (itself Celtic before the Romans conquered Gaul), carrying with them the legends of Arthur, but more as a resource for the Normans who used that tradition as a bulwark against the overweening pressure of Frankish Paris. Perhaps learning from the Romans enabled the Bretons to maintain their identity even into the 20th century, after all.

All in all, a good history, well documented, with extensive incorporation of source documents in lieu of paraphrasing. In a sense, he rewrites the Legend as real, expecting the Once and Future King to once more manifest himself.
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