Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Review of the Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend


Alan Lupack,  The Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend   New York, Oxford University Press, 2005.

There is so much literature dealing with King Arthur that it seems almost a challenge worthy of Sir Lancelot to take on a single book about it – the only comparable work has been done in encyclopedia form before. But Alan Lupack has been an Arthurian scholar for decades (often writing and editing with his scholar wife Barbara Tepa Lupack) and his profession as librarian gives him both the learning and the calmness to manage this huge undertaking.

This is where you will find the date, the context, and the thematic and stylistic essence of the rarest of Arthurian stories, and unusually Lupack has offered not only a chronological and topographical analysis but has also at the end provided a range of insightful theme based essays, to suggest that this mighty myth is actually about real human and social issues, something that many of the scholars myopically fail to recognise in their work.

If you are serious about the myth of Arthur, or want to become so, this book is the place to start.

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