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King Arthur's Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition Paperback – Jan 13 2011
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
King Arthur's Children looks at the literature since the fifth century tracing every mention of the children of Arthur starting with the Welsh legends. Tichelaar also looks at the French romances and other references to the children during the Middle Ages. He then brings it up to modern times where authors continue to write about the king and his children, often making up new children. Lawhead's series is just one of many modern novels he discusses.
This though is not a dry historical account but Tichelaar is a storyteller and in the midst of all the details of the children, storylines are shared that made me want to read more about Arthur. Why is it that even in the 21st century we are still interested in King Arthur, his adventures and his family? Maybe it is the fact that we do not know if he really did exist, or is it the classic issues his story brings up - family struggles, forbidden love, best friends in love with the same woman, or maybe our fascination is with all the adventures of King Arthur. I do not know but Tichelaar's work has added something valuable to those who study the man or to those of us who still want to read more of the infamous king. I highly recommend King Arthur's Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition.
Tichelaar himself is going to add to the King Arthur books with his upcoming novel King Arthur's Legacy. After reading this book, I am looking forward to reading his novel also.
Now for my personal opinion . . . I know nothing about King Arthur except for what I've seen in a couple of forgettable movies. He pulled a sword out of a stone. He was married to Guinevere. He was helped by Merlin the wizard. With this lack of knowledge you would think this is a very strange book for me to read and review. But in my world I don't want to read books about things I already know. I want to learn something new.
Thank goodness Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. has a fabulous writing style which makes so much new-to-me information fairly easy to read and understand. I think my biggest problem was reading and remembering all the "weird" names of the different characters. If they'd all been Johns and Marys it would have been much simpler . . . LOL.
So if you are a fan of King Arthur than this is definitely the book to read. Well thought out, well written and allowing room for question and debate.
A Study in Fiction and Tradition
Tyler R. Tichelaar
King Arthur had always held my attention until a few years back.
Tyler Tichelaar has revealed more in King Arthur's Children
A Study in Fiction and Tradition then I had ever known.I have read and reread this book,
and everytime I read it I find out something else I didn't know.
Tyler Tichelaar, has added great intellect about King Arthur's children.
I have grown up with the stories of King Arthur, and I have great memories of them.
It has given me the heart to explore and find some more books on Arthur.
I have throughly enjoyed reading this book and am keeping an eye for more books from the same author.
I am happy to add this book to my collection. His research of the ancient
texts has only made this book even more enjoyable.Tyler has showed the great
importance of King Arthur's lagacy.
i never knew King Arthur has any children except for Mordred. Did you? It has
been long overdue for a book on on Auther's legends.
-Lancelot and Mordred may have been twins.
-In some traditions, King Arthur, like the Biblical King Herod, has all the children born around the same time as Mordred drowned.
-Mordred was not always evil; he was revered in Welsh and some Scottish tales.
-Guinevere took many other lovers besides Lancelot, including several Knights of the Round, depending on the source.
-The battle of Camlann may have been written as a tragedy to make the legends more interesting and memorable.
-Mordred may have lived after Camlann or had sons who did.
King Arthur's Children is broken up into three sections. The first discusses three possible sons of Arthur in various stories that make up the Welsh collection known as The Mabinogion. These are the likely illegitimate Gwydre; Amr, the child of Arthur's first wife or mistress/concubine; and Llacheu, who is also mentioned the 10th century poem "Black Book of Carmarthen." Tichelaar posits that if a historical King Arthur ever existed and had sons, these three are the most likely and were probably later combined to turn history into legend.
Part two of the book is devoted to Arthur's most famous son, Mordred, who actually first appeared in Arthurian legend without reference to his relationship to Arthur and then as Arthur's nephew. Only later did he become the son spawned by incest we know today. (Tichelaar's section on incest in the legends is uncomfortable to read, but clearly illustrates the reasons why it was once a less taboo subject.) Tichelaar does a remarkable job of showing the dizzying number of ways in which Mordred may have been influenced by or have influenced his Welsh counterparts from part 1. This is also the section where he goes into other Arthurian characters and how they may or may not have been related to Mordred. He then studies the honorable Mordred in Welsh legend, his vacillating virtue among the Scots, and the more sympathetic treatment given him by modern writers.
The conclusion to this section is the one weak spot in the book. Here, Tichelaar's fascination with genealogy draws him away from his main subject into two chapters on how the English Royal Family and the Scottish clan Campbell both have tried to claim succession from King Arthur. I can see why Tichelaar included this - because by claiming to be descendants, these groups could arguably be King Arthur's children - but I feel like the discussion of their forced (and possibly faked) lineage distracts from the overall point and flow of the book. However, if you're a genealogy buff, you'll probably like this section.
The final part of the book details how King Arthur's children were handled by medieval, Renaissance and modern writers. Here, Tichelaar does a great job of summarizing works most people probably haven't read or even had access to, and explaining how each successive generation of writers has added to the legend. Interestingly, he points out that the most recent writers are more likely to invent new children, especially daughters. He also gives a small preview of his own forthcoming work of fiction, King Arthur's Legacy.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and am proud to be able to include it on my list of resources for my contribution to the legends. King Arthur's Children is of great value mainly because it expertly explores an area of Arthurian legend that has not (at least to my knowledge) been widely researched before. I would recommend it to anyone who already has solid knowledge of Arthurian legend. To get the most out of it you need a fairly strong background in the legends and at least a cursory knowledge of Welsh legend. My studies of Welsh legend are rudimentary, so some of his comparisons between these and Arthurian legends went over my head. But I'm sure others will be able to better appreciate them.
While Tichelaar plays with (and yearns for) the idea that King Arthur's bloodline may still exist today, he makes one of his most moving points in reference to the always changing nature of the legends, stating: "Anyone who would be a descendant of King Arthur need not have a fifteen hundred-year-old pedigree to prove it; we need to tell the tales about Arthur, and when people hear these stories, he will then live on in their hearts and his line and descendants will continue to grow" (vi). I, for one, am proud to call myself a daughter of King Arthur in that capacity.