For more than a thousand years, the adventures of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table have been retold across Europe. They have inspired some of the most important works of European literature, particularly in the medieval period: the romances of Chrétien de Troyes, Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. In the nineteenth century, interest in the Arthurian legend was revived by Tennyson, Wagner and Twain, with T. H. White’s 1958 novel The Once and Future King – as well as Hollywood and the small screen – showing a more-recent interest.
Elizabeth Archibald has been Professor of English Studies at Durham since 2012, from where she is due to retire in August 2021. Before that she held posts at King’s College, Cambridge, the University of Victoria (Canada), and Bristol University. She specializes in medieval romance and the classical tradition in the Middle Ages, with a particular interest in the Arthurian legend. She is co-editor of the journal Arthurian Literature, and a past President of the British Branch of the International Arthurian Society. Her current research project is an interdisciplinary study of bathing in medieval literature and society. Elizabeth has published monographs on Apollonius of Tyre: Medieval and Renaissance Variations (1991), and Incest and the Medieval Imagination (2001), and has co-edited A Companion to Malory with A.S.G. Edwards (1996), and The Cambridge Companion to the Arthurian Legend co-edited with Ad Putter (2009). Her many essays and chapters range over classical and medieval themes and texts, including Chaucer, Malory, and Scottish literature.
Your host for this event will be the writer Edward Parnell, author of ‘Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country’. Edward Parnell lives in Norfolk and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He is the recipient of an Escalator Award from the National Centre for Writing and a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. Ghostland (William Collins, 2019), a work of narrative non-fiction, is a moving exploration of what has haunted our writers and artists – as well as the author’s own haunted past; it was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley 2020 prize, an award given to a literary autobiography of excellence. Edward’s first novel The Listeners (2014), won the Rethink New Novels Prize. For further info see: https://edwardparnell.com