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Welcome to the course website for

Cultures of Chivalry:
King Arthur for Love and Profit

Courage! Honour! Intensity! Valour! Armour! Love! Romance! Youth!


King Arthur is the most popular and most frequently revived Western hero from the Middle Ages to the current moment. This course examines aspects of the Arthurian story—Camelot, the knights of the Round Table, the Holy Grail—from its roots in the Middle Ages to its flourishing today. We focus our work on love—romantic love, family love, and love of friends—and profit— how stories of King Arthur can teach us to understand power and succeed in politics and even business organization.

In this course, we study the development of chivalric mentalities in literature, history, and culture from the Middle Ages to modern times. This course moves back and forth from the flowering of chivalry in twelfth-century Western culture to the current moment. Stories of King Arthur form the central thread around which we weave studies of chivalric education and variation, of chivalric rejection and renewal. As a general guide to the Middle Ages, use Judith Bennett’s