Worlds of Arthur: Facts and Fictions of the Dark Ages

Guy Halsall. Oxford Univ., $34.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-19-965817-6
A historian of late antiquity, Halsall successfully explains in his newest (after Humor, History and Politics in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages) why there’s good reason to doubt the validity of the many histories and legends of King Arthur. He begins by discussing the “traditional narrative[s]” of the famed (and likely fictitious) king and exploring the archeological records of Britannia, before moving on to note the scarcity of extant contemporaneous written sources, many of which, the author asserts, have been “cherry-pick[ed]” in the service of mythmaking. He also denounces claims of corroborative “lost written sources” as no more than “superficially attractive.” In the latter half of the book, Halsall leaves Arthur far behind and turns his attention to the grander question of the provenance of Arthur’s world—England itself—yet this section, like the tale of Arthur, suffers from a lack of convincing evidence. Halsall pursues some compelling argumentative threads, such as the time line and scale of Anglo-Saxon migration to the isles; scholars will find plenty of academic fodder, but the import of Halsall’s conclusions is hazy. 20 b&w images, 15 maps. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 10/29/2012
Release date: 03/01/2013
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-19-870084-5
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.