LA REPRESENTATION DU RÈGNE D’ARTHUR DANS LE MANUSCRIT ENLUMINÉ DU BRUT EN PROSE, LONDRES, LAMBETH PALACE 6 (C.1480)

in The Medieval Chronicle IX
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Abstract

The manuscript London, Lambeth Palace 6, contains the Middle English prose Brut, a text which benefited from a great popularity throughout the fifteenth century. It was copied by an English scribe and richly illuminated by the Master of Edward IV and his assistants at Bruges around 1480. This article studies the representation and integration of the reign of Arthur in the historical framework of the Brut or Chronicles of England, including its fictional aspects: Arthur emerges as a historical character but also as a chivalric and mythical figure. The analysis covers the miniatures ranging from the plot leading to the conception of Arthur to the end of his reign (fols. 36-66). The textual and iconographic choices of the prose Bruts are highlighted by comparisons with Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae, Wace’s Brut, and later prose rewritings in the Lancelot-Grail romance cycle, especially Merlin and its Vulgate Sequel. They show the continuous interest raised by Arthur in the aristocratic and royal circles of late fifteenth century England and the relationship between continental and insular historiographical, literary and artistic traditions.

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