Presentation Title

Arthurian Literature in the Victorian Era

Faculty Mentor

Samuel Claussen

Start Date

17-11-2018 10:15 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 10:30 AM

Location

C305

Session

Oral 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

Historians have a long-standing tradition of understanding Arthurian literature to have modeled social norms and ideas about how certain individuals should behave in medieval society. Thus, it is not surprising that when 19th century Victorian authors rewrote the Arthurian legends, they applied such norms to their own society, both intentionally and unintentionally. These writers in Victorian era Europe intentionally reformatted the medieval legend in order to re-institute and model similar social norms and behavior, strongly related to Chivalry and men. However, evidence in these famous 19th century works suggests that these authors left behind their own personal Victorian attitudes about their European society that went beyond their recreation of social expectations. What were these social norms in which Victorian authors included in their works regarding the medieval legend? This paper proposes a few 19th century European norms found in the reformatted Arthurian legends, that might not traditionally be discussed. This paper argues that these Victorian era authors included their 19th century views and attitudes regarding England’s dominating power in Europe, the superiority of the white European race, and the Oxford Movement in relation to individual behavior, in their famous Arthurian works. The evidence for this claim comes from some of the most famous Victorian era works of Arthurian literature by authors such as; Alfred Lord Tennyson, Fredrick William Faber, Edward Bulwer Lord Lytton, and Dinah Mulock Craick. These famous authors and their works of Victorian literature were then compared with the historical record, using both political and science-based documents, to provide a basis for understanding what ideas presented by these authors were taken from 19th Century Europe and placed into the medieval legend of King Arthur.

Summary of research results to be presented

What social norms did the Victorian era writers of the reformatted Arthurian legend include in their medieval legend? These authors included their 19th century views and attitudes regarding England’s dominating power in Europe. This is an image premature for Europe during the period set in the Arthurian literature. In such a way, the Victorian writers illustrated their own period’s reflection of the order of European power and influence. These writers also illustrated the superiority of the European white race in their medieval setting of the legend. However, this concept of a racial hierarchy had only begun to be develop for Imperial Europe during the 17th century, suggesting that this concept of race found in the legend was a reflection of Victorian ideals, rather than medieval. Lastly, the Victorian authors emphasized personal behavior and sin of individuals. These ideals resemble strong connection with the evolution of the Oxford Movement in England that occurred during the Victorian era, implying that this theme was also a mere reflection of Victorian society norms. Having evaluated some of the most popular Victorian Arthurian literature in relation to the historical record, this paper discusses the details of how the Victorian writers reflected upon the popular 19th century themes of England’s dominating power in Europe, an expression of the superiority of the white European race, and of the Oxford Movement in relation to individual behavior in their works.

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Nov 17th, 10:15 AM Nov 17th, 10:30 AM

Arthurian Literature in the Victorian Era

C305

Historians have a long-standing tradition of understanding Arthurian literature to have modeled social norms and ideas about how certain individuals should behave in medieval society. Thus, it is not surprising that when 19th century Victorian authors rewrote the Arthurian legends, they applied such norms to their own society, both intentionally and unintentionally. These writers in Victorian era Europe intentionally reformatted the medieval legend in order to re-institute and model similar social norms and behavior, strongly related to Chivalry and men. However, evidence in these famous 19th century works suggests that these authors left behind their own personal Victorian attitudes about their European society that went beyond their recreation of social expectations. What were these social norms in which Victorian authors included in their works regarding the medieval legend? This paper proposes a few 19th century European norms found in the reformatted Arthurian legends, that might not traditionally be discussed. This paper argues that these Victorian era authors included their 19th century views and attitudes regarding England’s dominating power in Europe, the superiority of the white European race, and the Oxford Movement in relation to individual behavior, in their famous Arthurian works. The evidence for this claim comes from some of the most famous Victorian era works of Arthurian literature by authors such as; Alfred Lord Tennyson, Fredrick William Faber, Edward Bulwer Lord Lytton, and Dinah Mulock Craick. These famous authors and their works of Victorian literature were then compared with the historical record, using both political and science-based documents, to provide a basis for understanding what ideas presented by these authors were taken from 19th Century Europe and placed into the medieval legend of King Arthur.