Excalibur is not a thing, something you can hold in your hand.
Excalibur is the good in you.
The power to do good, to stand up for what's right, to slay dragons, to capture bank robbers.
You always carry Excalibur in your heart.

Robert Tinnell, Kids of the Round Table (1995)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

TF1's Merlin Mini-Series

The French television network TF1 aired a two-part miniseries called Merlin in 2012 . There is sparse information online about the series (see the sidebar under 2010-2019 productions), but the film, a comedic retelling of the Arthurian legend, offers yet another Merlin-centered version of the story.

Part one opens with a very Gandalf-looking Merlin (played by Gérard Jugnot) at the court of Uther Pendragon, where he helped raise and educate the young Arthur and (sometimes) Guenièvre. Ten years later, a less hirsute Merlin retires to Brocéliande after Arthur has grown up and begins to live with Viviane and her son Lancelot. However, Merlin is called back when Camelot is threatened by Arthur's cousin, Morgane, (herself a powerful magic-wielder, trained by her aged aunt) and her ally the barbarian king Vortigern (!) on the eve (?) of Arthur and Guenièvre's wedding. (Morgane had, apparently, expected to marry Arthur and become queen.) Merlin, Viviane, and Lancelot spend some time at court here, and (I think) the two mages are instrumental in stopping Morgane and Vortigern at this time. However, the villains return in part two, and Merlin is ill-prepared because the title of part one, "L'Enchanteur Désenchanté," refers to the fact that Merlin loses his powers as the years pass and he falls in love with Viviane and becomes a surrogate parent for Lancelot.

Taking place seven years later, part two, "Le Secret de Brocéliande," centers on Merlin's struggles to regain his magic in order to save the realm and restore Guenièvre to flesh after she has been turned, by the returned Morgane, into stone. This section also focuses on a quest for the Grail undertaken by Merlin and a teenaged Lancelot--the prophesied Grail-winner--to save Viviane, who is held by Morgane.

There are lots of images and some plot summary at the series official site (http://www.tf1.fr/merlin/) but no video. The following trailer comes from YouTube:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New Scholarship by Zaradona

Zarandona, Juan Miguel. “The Arthurian Opera by Isaac Albéniz and Francis Money-Coutts (1852–1923): Libretto Translation Theories Applied to Merlin.” Arthuriana 23.2 (Summer 2013): 1-19.

Offers a comparison between various versions of the operatic text, including Teatro Real of Madrid’s 2003 performance released on DVD in 2004.

More Arthuriana on Screen in Bucharest

Sorry to have missed this:

Monday, 21 July
Panel 2 : 10.30-12.50
King Arthur and the Modern Imagination

Paper 3 (of 4): Łukasz NEUBAUER (Koszalin University of Technology), Arthurian Themes in Lech Majewski’s Knight

Arthuriana on Screen at Arthurian Congress 2014

Of interest if you're in Romania this summer:

XXIV Triennial Congress of the International Arthurian Society - University of Bucharest
(full program at http://arthuriancongress.unibuc.ro/programme/)

Friday, July 25th

Panel 1: 15.20-17.20
Thematic Pannel : Children of the (K)night: Arthurian Bad Boys and Mean Girls
Organizer : Kevin J. HARTY (La Salle University, Philadelphia)

Christine NEUFELD (Eastern Michigan University), Bloodlines: The Sanguine Semiotics of Dracula vs. King Arthur
Susan ARONSTEIN (University of Wyoming), Thoroughly Modern Morgan?: Starz’ Camelot’s Arthurian Bad Girl
Martin B. SHICHTMAN (Eastern Michigan University), Subversive Sorority: The Naughty Nuns of Starz’
Elizabeth S. SKLAR (Wayne State University), Queering Mordred
Donald L. HOFFMAN (Northeastern Illinois University), The Queering of Mordred Revisited
Kevin J. HARTY (La Salle University), Using the Arthurian Legend to Turn Bad Boys into Good Boys: The Boy Scouts and Thomas Edison Make an Arthurian Film, The Knights of the Square Table
Laurie A. FINKE (Kenyon College), Ghosts of Chivalry: King Arthur and the Ku Klux Klan

Saturday, July 26th

Section 2 : 14h30-16h10
Influence of Arthurian Myths and the Contemporary World
Dragos MANEA (University of Bucharest), The Magic of Merlin: Strategies of Legitimation in Camelot (Starz 2011) and Merlin (BBC, 2008-2010)
Nicoleta NEAGOE (Université de Bucarest), Le mythe du Graal à l’aube du IIIe millénaire. Étude de cas – The Da Vinci Code de Dan Brown
David JOHNSON (Florida State University), Reading Couperus Reading Walewein: Arthur’s world reimagined at the close of WWI.
Anca MANOLESCU (Université de Bucarest), Un symbolisme sans rivages : René Guénon et Heinrich Zimmer, décrypteurs de la matière arthurienne
Geert VAN IERSEL (Fontys University of Applied Sciences), Robots and Jets as Knights and Warhorses: The Transformers does Arthurian Britain
Eliana Ionoaia – Arthurian Heroism in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lancelot in Night at the Museum 3

A bearded and long-haired, Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame) is set to play Lancelot in the upcoming film Night at Museum 3, which takes place at the British Museum. Some fuzzy images of Stevens have been posted on the Daily Mail website at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2548648/Dan-Stevens-gallops-London-set-Sir-Lancelot-installment-action-franchise-Ben-Stiller.html and the first trailer is promised to be released soon.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bosko's Knight-Mare

According to Salda's research, "Bosko's Knight-Mare," a 1933 animated short, is the earliest example of Arthurian animation. Here is one version of the film (Salda suggests there was originally a longer version) from Dailymotion. (There was also a video on YouTube, but it has been removed for copyright infringement.)

The film offers an interesting adaptation of the Connecticut Yankee story, and Salda's discussion offer much insight into its contexts and relationship with the Arthurian tradition.

Bosko s Knight-Mare (1933) (High) by andythebeagle

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Update on Salda's Arthurian Animation

I've been reading Michael N. Salda's recent book Arthurian Animation:A Study of Cartoon Camelots on Film and Television in preparation for a forthcoming review. I'm about a third through so far. The book is very enjoyable and accessible, and, following the lead of Susan Aronstein's study of Arthurian film, Hollywood Knights: Arthurian Cinema and the Politics of Nostalgia, it offers further connections between Arthuriana on screen and American culture. Chapters 1, 3, and 4 highlight material that is mostly inspired by Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court or its filmic adaptations, and Salda offers some insightful close readings in these chapters linking the animated material to its live-action counterparts. Chapter 2 focuses on the unfinished film King Arthur's Knights, a work inspired by Malory, and that would have served as an excellent example of Anglo-American ties of solidarity during World War Two had it been completed.

More to follow soon....

Monday, April 14, 2014

CFP Arthurian-Themed Electronic Games (6/1/14)

CFP Essays on Arthurian-Themed Electronic Games (6/1/14)

The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain seeks essay proposals devoted to surveying or studying video and computer games based on and/or inspired by the Arthurian tradition.

Essays will appear in a collection devoted to surveying the complete Matter of Britain on screen (as defined on our web site: http://matter-of-britain-on-screen.blogspot.com/) .

Proposals of 250 to 500 words or completed essays by 1 June 2014.
Final versions of essays will be expected by June 2015.

Please address submissions, inquiries, and suggested topics to the editors at


Please use “Arthurian EGs” as your subject line.

Or submit material via post addressed to

Michael A. Torregrossa
Founder, The Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Matter of Britain
34 Second Street
Smithfield, RI 02917-3627
United States

In addition to proposals, we would also appreciate your help in compiling a list of productions and bibliography of works discussing this material.