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Module QXE-4030:
Medieval Arthur

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Raluca Radulescu

Overall aims and purpose

This module will aim to help students achieve 1. A sophisticated understanding of the concepts and textual discussion of Arthurian myth and legend in the medieval period, and of the conditions in which the texts were produced. 2. An informed critical understanding of selected authors and anonymous works. 3. A sophisticated understanding of differing critical approaches to the set medieval texts, including issues of authorship and textual transmission.

Course content

This module explores Arthurian myths and legends from their potential inception in the sixth century through to the end of the Middle Ages, paying attention to the way the story was shaped in different centuries, socio-political contexts, and material culture. Insular (Britain and Ireland) and Continental traditions will be placed in their manuscript and print culture, including visual culture, and an investigation of the effect of modern scholarly editing on the reception of medieval texts will also be part of the module. Texts covered will include, but not be limited to, Welsh and 'Celtic' myth, the stories in the Mabinogion, medieval romance in Latin, Old and Anglo-Norman French, Middle English, and other European languages (studied in translation as necessary), chronicles, and other types of narratives, including prophecy, letter writing and historical documents. Postgraduates on the MA in Arthurian Literature will gain a solid foundation for the continuation of their course, while students from other programmes who choose this module as an option will gain an insight into the origins and development of Arthurian themes in early literature. There will be ample time during the semester for the postgraduates to shape and develop their own enquiries of the subject. Students will benefit from the extensive resources in the Centre for Arthurian Studies, including rare books, online resources, and specialist events.

The module will offer the postgraduates on the MA in Arthurian Literature a solid foundation for the continuation of their course, while giving others (on the MA in English Literature, the MA in Creative Writing, the MA in Medieval Studies or MA Celts), who choose this module as an option, an insight into the origins and development of Arthurian themes in early literature.

Assessment Criteria


50-59% A Pass (C) candidate’s work will show many of the following qualities: • A satisfactory level of knowledge, analysis and expression. • Some familiarity with, and understanding of, relevant theoretical issues. • Generally sound organisation of argument, with some critical ability. • Accurate expression. • Competent use of quotation and references.


60-69% A (B) candidate’s work reaching Merit will show many of the following qualities: • An advanced level of factual knowledge. • Significant [substantial] knowledge of relevant theories and types of analysis. • Some evidence of original thought. • The ability to organise and argue effectively, make balanced judgements, and demonstrate critical thought. • Fluent and accurate expression. • Competent use of quotation and references.


70% and above Typically, the work of a (A) candidate reaching Distinction will show many of the following qualities: • Thorough knowledge and understanding of relevant theories and types of analysis. • Thorough knowledge of a range of sources and the capacity to engage these critically. • Introduction and discussion of original ideas. • Relevant, well-organised and sophisticated argument. • High ratio of analysis to exposition. • Maturity, clarity and cogency of expression. • Excellent handling of quotation and references.

Learning outcomes

  1. understand and discuss critically the selected course set texts.

  2. consider differing critical attitudes to course set texts and be able to reflect this in their writing.

  3. show an awareness of the interrelationships of text, context, authorship and textual transmission.

  4. Show the advanced skills of presentation and referencing pertaining to PGT level.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Final essay 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy


11 x 2 hour seminar weekly.

Private study

Private study


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in


Resource implications for students

none unless the students want to own their own primary texts.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: