Malory's Magic Book

February 2019
2 colour, 10 black and white illustrations
251 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Arthurian Studies
ISBN: 9781843845195
Format: Hardback
BISAC LIT011000, LIT009000

Malory's Magic Book

King Arthur and the Child, 1862-1980

Elly McCausland

An examination of the numerous adaptations of Malory's Morte Darthur for children in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
From the time when the writer J.T. Knowles first adapted Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur for a juvenile audience in 1862, there has been a strong connection between children and the Arthurian legend. Between 1862 and 1980, numerous adaptations of the Morte were produced for a young audience in Britain and America. They participated in cultural dialogues relating to the medieval, literary heritage, masculine development, risk, adventure and mental health through their reworking of the narrative.
Covering texts by J.T. Knowles, Sidney Lanier, Howard Pyle, T.H. White, Roger Lancelyn Green, Alice Hadfield, John Steinbeck and Susan Cooper, among others, this volume explores how books for children frequently become books about children, and consequently books about the contiguity and separation of the adult and the child. Against the backdrop of Victorian medievalism, imperialism, the rise of child psychology and two world wars, the diverse ways in which Malory's text has been altered with a child reader in mind reveals changing ideas regarding the relevance of King Arthur, and the complex relationship between authors and their imagined juvenile readers. It reveals the profoundly fantasised figures behind literary representations of childhood, and the ways in which Malory's timeless tale, and the figure of King Arthur, have inspired and shaped these fantasies.

Dr ELLY MCCAUSLAND is Senior Lecturer in British and American literature at the University of Oslo.

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Table of Contents

'Ever fresh and fascinating to the boy and girl of today': the timeless child and the childish medieval in nineteenth-century Arthuriana
Risk and revenue: adventurous Arthurian masculinities in the work of Howard Pyle and Henry Gilbert
The ill-made adult and the mother's curse: psychoanalysing the Arthurian child in T. H. White's The Once and Future King
'Monty Python was not that far away': the instability of 1950s Arthuriana for children
'For a little while a magician': potent childish fantasies in John Steinbeck's Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights
Conclusion: At the crossing-places

Author Bio

Dr McCausland is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Oslo, having beeen a Postdoctoral Fellow at Aarhus University, graduating from Merton College, Oxford with a PhD from the University of York

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