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5ABLCF01 Arthurian Transformations


**This module is not running in 2019/20**

Module convenor: Dr Helen Brookman
Credits: 15
Pre-requisites: none
Teaching pattern: 

  • First half of term: two-hour seminars
  • Second half of term: two-hour workshops

Module description: 

In the medieval and modern ages, the Arthurian world has provided inspiration for countless artistic, cultural, and popular outputs: medieval chronicles; ballads; and verse and prose romance; and modern narrative poetry; novels; paintings; opera; film; television; musicals; comic books; and video games. The Arthurian legends and characters are constantly transformed: rewritten, remediated, reinvented. This module will provide opportunity for you to engage with medieval Arthurian texts and their recreations in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Within this broad chronological and interdisciplinary scope, our overall focus will be on transformation: between genres, forms, historical periods, and media.

In the first half of term, you will start by exploring various Arthurian transformations and the cultures that produced them in taught seminars, taking Sir Thomas Malory's Morte D’Arthur​ as our core medieval text. You will develop familiarity with the knowledge, skills, and approaches needed to conduct independent research in Arthurian studies. In the second half of term, you will work individually and in collaboration with your peers to research and analyse Arthurian artefacts and build a digital exhibition to communicate your findings. Thus, we will seek to explore, understand, and share our understanding of why and how Arthurian legend has proved so culturally productive and enduring.

Module aims: 

  • To introduce students to a range of medieval and modern Arthurian material
  • To encourage students to reflect on the transformations undergone by Arthurian legends, characters, and motifs between literary and cultural forms, genres, and media and between historical periods
  • To provide opportunity for students to engage in interdisciplinary research on particular aspects of the material (as a bridge towards more fully independent research projects at Level 6) and to develop skills in team working, writing for external audiences, and digital literacy

When analysing particular Arthurian transformations, we will be guided by three questions:

1. How does this artistic production recreate the Arthurian material?

2. What does this tell us about the ideas, ideals, and ideologies of the period of production?

3. What conclusions can we draw about the Arthurian tradition and its particular potential for transformation?

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this module, a successful student is expected to be able to:

  • Demonstrate critical engagement with and understanding of medieval and modern Arthurian primary material and relevant secondary material
  • Develop a research topic and identify and use relevant analytical methods and approaches
  • Work collaboratively and effectively as part of a team
  • Communicate ideas and findings clearly and persuasively in writing, including writing informatively and engagingly for an external audience
  • Format assignments and reference material appropriately

 Core reading:

See Reading List  

Additional course costs:

The purchase of the following books, which are available cheaply online and second hand:

 Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur: The Winchester Manuscript, ed. by Helen Cooper (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant (London: Faber & Faber, 2015)


Assessment Pattern:

  • 50% Digital exhibition: individual component
  • 35% Digital exhibition: group component
  • 15% Research and reading journal 

 NB. Submission to the group collection of the individual page is compulsory. Students not submitting an individual contribution that relates meaningfully to the digital exhibition will receive a 0. 

Reassessment Method:

Alternative assessment for students with valid MCF for group component: submission of individual page that relates meaningfully to the group digital exhibition (pass/fail, to receive group mark)

Alternative assessment for students with valid MCF for research journal component: mark voided and other components averaged out

Reassessment for group failure of group component: resubmission of group digital exhibit (Mahara collection; including individual Mahara page)

Reassessment for individual failure of group component: submission of individual page that relates meaningfully to the group component (pass/fail, to receive group mark) 

The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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