From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Arthur is a fabled British king figured in many legends. He appears as the ideal of kingship both in war and peace; even in modern times he has been ranked as one of the 100 Greatest Britons of all times. Over time, the popularity of the stories of King Arthur have captured interest far beyond his being the legendary hero of one nation. Countless new legends, stories, revisions, books, and films have been produced in Europe and the United States of America that unabashedly enlarge on and expand the fictional stories of King Arthur.
Although the themes, events and characters of the Arthurian legend varied widely from text to text, and there is no one canonical version, Geoffrey's version of events often served as the starting point for later stories. The 12th-century French writer Chrétien de Troyes, who added Lancelot and the Holy Grail to the story, began the genre of Arthurian romance that became a significant strand of medieval literature. In these French stories, the narrative focus often shifts from King Arthur himself to other characters, such as various Knights of the Round Table. Arthurian literature thrived during the Middle Ages but waned in the centuries that followed until it experienced a major resurgence in the 19th century. In the 21st century, the legend lives on, not only in literature but also in adaptations for theatre, film, television, comics and other media.
- Historical basis for King Arthur
- King Arthur's family
- King Arthur's messianic return
- Excalibur and Clarent, King Arthur's weapons
- List of Arthurian characters
- List of books about King Arthur
- List of films based on Arthurian legend
- Nine Worthies, of which Arthur was one