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By Siân Echard

This ebook takes a special examine the Latin Arthurian culture, putting authors comparable to Geoffrey of Monmouth within the context of Latin histories, monastic chronicles, saints' lives, and different Latin prose Arthurian narratives. putting them opposed to a historical past of the Angevin courtroom of Henry II, the ebook introduces a brand new set of texts into the Arthurian canon and indicates the way to comprehend their position in that culture.

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Additional resources for Arthurian Narrative in the Latin Tradition (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature)

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These works also represent the court at play, and the fantastic element of their narrative offers amusement even as it unsettles its protagonists and audiences alike. Chapter 6, in addition to the Vita Merlini, includes texts which, like those in chapter 3, are particularly difficult to classify generically, and in this case even the interpretative framework I have been offering based on the characteristics of court writing may not be completely helpful. The Welsh saints' lives and Arthur and Gorlagon, a very funny and accomplished parody of Welsh narrative conventions, cannot be clearly identified as Angevin court writing.

Yet none of these terms is an easy fit even for those texts which seem most like one or the other of these poles, and there are in addition many which fit none of the available generic terms. Nevertheless, I believe that the answer to describing, if not defining, these texts lies in the practices of court writing. Let us explore a little further, then, the characteristics of the literary products of the Angevin court. Facetia we have discussed thus far as an ironic covering for truthtelling, but it can also be simple cleverness and even jesting.

1-6. 31 Arthurian narrative in the Latin tradition generic terms available to us for that purpose. It is often treated as a history with literary features, or as literature masquerading as history. This implied separation between history and fiction is in part a modern one. "5 But Spiegel is talking about the shift from Latin to vernacular, and from verse to prose. " If Latin is indeed the language of textuality, the language that establishes "prima facie its own authority," 6 then Geoffrey's use of it for what we would call fictional or literary narrative may be part of his subversive intent.

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