Embarking on the “Matter of Britain”

I have begun to journey into the “Matter of Britain”:  the extensive collection of lore pertaining to King Arthur.  I am beginning with Howard Pyle’s venerable writings, although I am aware it is not the original version.  I have had some misgivings about this, especially after poking my nose into Sir Thomas Malory’s reasonably sized Le Morte d’Arthur.  But, if I allowed myself, I would soon be caught fast in the trap of “knowing before doing” and would doubtless be swimming high upon the sea of research without ever reading the story itself.  Thus my desire to obtain a volume of at least moderate credibility as soon as possible and to start it before I had time to question whether it was “the best” version.  I have attempted to read Pyle’s King Arthur at least twice in the past and hope my third will be at last successful.

You are welcome to read along with me.  I am beginning with Pyle’s The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, first published in 1903 and the first in his series on King Arthur.  This shall put me in a proper “Arthurian mood” for the upcoming publication of The Lost Tales of Sir Galahad, which shall be released by Rabbit Room Press later this month.  Indeed, The Lost Tales was my primary inspiration for pursuing the Matter of Britain so suddenly and with dedicated vigor.

I shall be researching as I go and as things interest me, and thus my reading shall be part scholarly, part pleasure.  I shall also be sure to follow more closely Malcolm Guite’s Spells in the Library, as he is in the process of putting the Matter of Britain into verse and is consequently exploring the Arthurian stories as well.  You shall read some of my musings and learnings here on Remembered Lore in the future.  For now, be sure to get excited for the release of The Lost Tales of Sir Galahad, which you can read about here.

Sundry tidbits to fuel the Arthurian spirit:

The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, by Howard Pyle on Gutenberg.  Includes Pyle’s spellbinding illustrations.

An announcement of The Lost Tales of Sir Galahad by my dear friend and fellow writer Miriam Novotny, whose own Galahadic story is to be included in The Lost Tales.

Malcolm Guite reads his own submission for The Lost Tales of Sir Galahad: “The Ballad of Galahad and the Naiad”…

…And shares some of his Arthurian treasures and decides that now may be the time begin on the “Matter of Britain.”

7 thoughts on “Embarking on the “Matter of Britain”

  1. If you’re into Wagnerian archetypal imagery, the film Excalibur offers an inspiring voyage into the Old Ways. Salut Stephan T. Vitas

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  2. Nicole, thank you for linking to my post! Your entire post made my day. Seeing that others are excited about The Lost Tales makes me happy. 🙂

    It also makes me excited that you are going to read Pyle’s King Arthur! I anticipate many delightful conversations. I read the first book a while back, and I’ve always wanted to read the rest of the series. I have also read Padraic Colum’s Story of King Arthur (originally published as The Island of the Mighty), which is a retelling of the Arthurian tales included in the Mabinogion. These tales are earlier, more Welsh, and less French than their counterparts found in Malory and most other versions.

    And how exciting that Malcolm Guite is working on his own poetic version! Thank you for mentioning this or I might not have known about it. I should follow Malcolm Guite more closely.

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    1. You are so welcome! I was happy to share my own excitement and pleased to embark on so ambitious a venture. Thank you for the recommendation of Colum’s Story of King Arthur. I see my pile of Arthurian lore begins to grow taller. 😉

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