The King Arthur Myth in Modern American Literature

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McFarland, Nov 16, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 168 pages
In American fiction, two forms of the Arthurian myth are commonly found: the use of the myth for political reasons, and the use of the myth for the continuation of an aesthetic tradition that can be traced back to the earliest use of the Arthurian cycle by writers in the British Isles. This work traces the use of the legend from Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court to Donald Barthelme’s novel The King. It discusses how Twain used the myth to take a stand against England, how it served cultural and aesthetic purposes in John Steinbeck’s writing, how Raymond Chandler used it in complex texts with less obvious Arthurian allusions that carried strong cultural and even political associations, how John Gardner used aspects of the myth to embellish already existing narrative structures and to underscore philosophic debates, and how Donald Barthelme suggests the continuing interest of American writers in the Arthurian legend today in his novels. Also discussed is the effect of World War II on American literature and the Arthurian myth and the Camelot image surrounding the Kennedys.

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Contents

List of maps
1
Pensacola Bay
13
MarchApril 1861
19
AprilMay 1861
38
AprilDecember 1861
52
North Carolina Sounds
92
Capture of Port Royal Sound
107
April 1861December 1862
114
Charleston Harbor1863
199
Attack on Fort Fisher
215
Glossary
217
Index
223
Acknowledgments
1
Mark Twain 7
7
Steinbecks Early Novels 25
25
Raymond Chandler 43
43

Clash of the Ironclads
123
June 1861October 1862
131
Island No 10
139
May 1861June 1862
147
October 1862May 1864
166
Chickasaw Bluffs
171
August 1863December 1864
184
Battle of Mobile Bay
186
Writers in World War II 60
60
Steinbecks Later Works 78
78
John Gardner 106
106
Donald Barthelme et al 122
122
Conclusion 139
139
Bibliography 145
145
Index 153
153
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Andrew E. Mathis currently teaches English at Temple University. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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