November 24, 2013

The Arthurian Literature Reading Challenge 2014

This awesome challenge is hosted by Jean at Howling Frog Books, and if you want to know more and sign up (and believe me, you do!), please go HERE.

I'm super-excited about it, and I hope to do the Paladin level, which requires reading more than 6 works, two of which may be Recent (1950+) and two must be Old (pre-1800). What books am I planning to read in particular? Below I've listed what seems to me to be the most important works in Arthurian canon. There are much more, but those in the list are famous and/or classical. (I couldn't use English Wikipedia page, because it's too overwhelming, so I used the Russian one instead.)

Some of the books from the list I have read before, but I've still put them here for consistency's sake. I'm planning to go through the ones I haven't read in chronological order until I'm run out of enthusiasm or unless I have to skip something because of its insufferable nature (The Faerie Queene, I'm looking at you). We'll see how many I'll get through by the end of next year :) I'll track my progress here and link my reviews to this list.

1. Historia Brittonum attributed to Nennius (9th century)
2. The works of Geoffrey of Monmouth:
· The History of the Kings of Britain (1136)
· Life of Merlin (1150)
3. Mabinogion by Anonymous (14th century)
4. The poems of Chrétien de Troyes:
· Erec and Enide (circa 1170s)
· Cligés (circa 1170s)
· Yvain, the Knight of the Lion (circa 1180s)
· Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart (circa 1180s)
· Perceval, the Story of the Grail (circa 1190)
5. The poems of Hartmann von Aue:
· Iwein (late 12th century)
· Erec (late 12th century)
6. Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach (c. 1210s)
7. Lancelot-Grail by Anonymous (c. 1210s-1230s)
· Estoire del Saint Grail
· Estoire de Merlin
· Lancelot propre
· Queste del Saint Graal
· Mort Artu
8. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by The Pearl Poet (14th century)
9. Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory (1485)
10. The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser 1590
11. Idylls of the King by Alfred  by Lord Tennyson (1856–1885)
12. King Arthur by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1848–9)
13. The Defence of Guenevere by William Morris (1892)
14. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain (1889)
15. The Once and Future King by T. H. White
· The Sword in the Stone (1938)
· The Queen of Air and Darkness (or The Witch in the Wood) (1939)
· The Ill-Made Knight (1940)
· The Candle in the Wind (1958)
· The Book of Merlyn (1958)
16. The Merlin series by Mary Stewart
· The Crystal Cave (1970)
· The Hollow Hills (1973)
· The Last Enchantment (1979)
· The Wicked Day (1983)
· The Prince and the Pilgrim (1995)
17. The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck (1975)
18. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1983)
19. The Coming of the King: The First Book of Merlin by Nikolai Tolstoy (1988)
20. The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell
· The Winter King (1995)
· Enemy of God (1996)
· Excalibur (1997)

What do you think of the list? Haven't I left out something important or awesome? I can't wait to kick the challenge off! :)


  1. Woohoo! Fantastic! Welcome to 5th century Britain, let's hang out for a while. :)

    1. I wonder if we would like hanging out in a real 5th century Britain. Probably not, despite all ecological merits :))

    2. Nope. No way. I'd be a blind, dead serf, it would be a total bummer. And I have my doubts about all the ecological merits of old-timey life--those ancients were all about mining cinnabar (with slaves who never came out) and spreading the messy results all over the place, or covering themselves with lead products, all that sort of thing....

    3. Ha-ha, true! It's so much better to stay in a cozy armchair with a book! :)

  2. Arthurian literature scares me! That being said, I want to read The Mists of Avalon some day, and possibly also The Warlord Chronicles. Good luck with your challenge! (I should start picking those for 2014 too I guess.)

    1. Well, those two are supposed to be good fantasy, and I hope I'll get to them too. But I have a hell of a number of books to read before :)

      I have already marked all the challenges I wish to join, I just need to put up sign-up posts for them... Don't like this part :)


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