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King Arthur's Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition Paperback – Jan 13 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Modern History Press (Jan. 13 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1615990666
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615990665
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring a Little Known Subject of Arthurian Tradition May 4 2011
By Jeffrey P. Bampos - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"King Arthur's Children" is a long overdue addition to Arthurian studies. Most people are familiar with Arthur's son Mordred, and he is extensively reviewed in this book. But such characters as Amr and Llacheu are also covered, along with lesser known examples of Arthur's children. Besides looking at the traditional tales, "King Arthur's Children" highlights modern fiction which has made use of invented children of Arthur. A lot of this material was new to me and inspired me to explore some of these later books. The author is writing a novel about Arthur's legacy. I look foward to it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King Arthur's Children - Great Read March 5 2011
By Janice M. Hidey - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Tyler R. Tichelaar, who has a Ph.D. in literature, has been fascinated with King Arthur since a child. I understand that, as in 6th grade my class read a King Arthur story and then wrote a play about him that we later performed. I have great memories of all that went into the writing, the sets, the learning of lines and then performing the play not just two times for the elementary school but later at night presenting it to our parents and other people from the community. That started my own fascination with Arthurian legend. Did he really exist or on the other hand, is he just a legend? As an adult, I continued to read about Arthur in Stephen Lawhead's five book series The Pendragon and then Avalon: The Return of King Arthur. Therefore, I was excited to read Tichelaar's King Arthur's Children and I was not disappointed.

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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brillant new addition to Arthurian studies Feb. 16 2012
By Nichole B. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The book's title would certainly make me pick it up off a shelf, but it doesn't do the work justice. This interesting, impeccably researched book profiles several possible sons of Arthur, but also discusses the circumstances in various traditions influencing the actions of Guinevere, Lancelot and Constantine, as well as possible reasons for and outcomes of the battle of Camlann. Interesting twists to the legends explained in this book include:

-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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tichelaar continues to astound lovers of King Arthur Jan. 23 2011
By Cheryl Carpinello, author of MG Arthurian Tales and others. See my Amazon Author Page - Published on
Format: Hardcover
After teaching the Legend of King Arthur for over 20 years, I felt that I had a pretty good handle on the legend. But, Tyler Tichelaar has astounded me with the details and research about the actual sons of King Arthur!

His methodical research of the ancient texts, including The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Geoffrey's The History of the Kings of Britain, The Mabinogion, and Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur coupled with more modern texts like Celtic Myth and Arthurian Romance (1967) and The Book of Arthur: Lost Tales of the Round Table (2002), present readers with a validity for Arthur's children that has not been shown before.

Tichelaar also explores current fiction in which Arthur's children make their own path in the literary legend of Arthur. The reasons put forth by Tichelaar in King Arthur's Children for this proliferation of heirs is logical and at the same time magical. Arthur's legend continues to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds, and it only makes sense that authors feel modifying the Legend will allow more people to discover the honor and hope so many are looking for in today's world.

The information about Arthur's early sons coupled with Tichelaar's in-depth analysis of the known son Mordred leaves readers wondering how much more Tichelaar will uncover of this magnificent legend. Tyler even explores the claims of the British royal family both past and present that they are Arthur's descendants!

Tichelaar's in-depth analysis of the plausibility of King Arthur's children reaffirms the importance that the King Arthur legacy continues to have for society and the need of people all over the world to be able to connect to and believe in King Arthur and Camelot.

Cheryl Carpinello
author of
"Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend"
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars King Arthur's Children April 12 2013
By scrap.master.pam - Published on
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading King Arthur's Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition It is a scholarly analysis of every known treatment of King Arthur's children, from Welsh legends and French romances, to Scottish genealogies and modern novels. King Arthur's Children explores an often overlooked theme in Arthurian literature and reveals King Arthur's bloodline may still exist today.

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.