Nostalgia for the sixties zeitgeist

camelot

Geoffrey Ashe ed The Quest for Arthur’s Britain
Pall Mall 1968

The 60s saw a rapid rise in interest in all things Arthurian, spurred on by a New Age zeitgeist which embraced all forms of fantasy from Tolkien to comics and by other aspects of popular culture, including musicals like Camelot. In the middle of it all a more archaeological approach to the little-understood post-Roman period in Britain was emerging which sought to throw light on what was popularly known as the Dark Ages; and the epitome of this approach was the five-year investigation (from 1966 to 1970) of the Somerset hillfort of South Cadbury Castle by the provocatively-named Camelot Research Committee. Perhaps as a direct result of the publicity surrounding the excavations the 1967 film of Camelot actually featured a map which placed the court roughly where the hillfort was situated. Continue reading “Nostalgia for the sixties zeitgeist”

An engrossing enquiry

rossetti grailChristine Poulson The Quest for the Grail:
Arthurian Legend in British Art, 1840-1920
Manchester University Press 1999

The author, a now moderately successful crime-writer, was at the time of writing a Fellow of the Centre for Nineteenth-century Studies at the University of Sheffield, but The Quest for the Grail is no dry-as-dust academic publication. Plentifully illustrated with fourteen colour and sixty monochrome plates, this is an engrossing enquiry into the 19th-century renaissance of the Arthurian legend in representational art, stimulated by the 1817 re-publication of Malory and by Tennyson’s later reworkings of the tales. Continue reading “An engrossing enquiry”