Silk and Potatoes

Contemporary Arthurian Fantasy

Series: 

Author: Adam Roberts
This study constitutes the first to analyse the remarkable surge in popularity of Arthurian literature and art in the modern period from a broad range of instances of cultural production. More novels with Arthurian themes have been published since the war than in any previous period, and Silk and Potatoes provides detailed readings of some of the most famous, including works by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anthony Burgess, C.J. Cherryh, Guy Gavriel Kay, Mary Stewart, Jack Vance and T.H. White. In addition to examining Arthurian fiction (with chapters on the general novel, Historical fiction and Science Fiction), this study examines the key cinematic examples of Arthuriana (Boorman’s Excalibur, Bresson’s Lancelot du Lac, Rohmer’s Perceval Le Gallois and Monthy Python and the Holy Grail). A further chapter goes on to look at the myriad other forms of cultural production based on Arthurian themes; from Bugs Bunny to Pop Music, from the Camelot of JFK to the British National Lottery. This is a study that touches on many aspects of Arthuriana whilst developing two connected arguments about (on the one hand) the necessary anachronism of any modern Arthurian Literature, and (on the other) the aesthetic-political implications of this literature’s success. The whole, whilst rooted in the scholarly debates on the enduring appeal of King Arthur, is written in an accessible and entertaining style. It will be of interest to students and teachers of Arthurian literature, film and popular culture.
Preface. 1 Introduction. 2 Silk and Potatoes: Arthurian Novels as Historical Fiction. 3 Arthurian SF and Arthurian Fantasy. 4 Arthurian Cinema: Aesthetic Fascism and Its Critique. 5 'Sir Loin of Beef’: Arthurian Comedy. 6 New Age: The Cultural Consumption of Arthur. Bibliography. Index.