Bangor University’s continuing role at the centre of world Arthurian studies

The Arthurian legends have been with us for centuries and permeate European literature and their popularity is as strong today. Modern media formats such as film and tv means that the characters and stories are shared beyond Europe.

Emeritus Professor Peter Field and Dr Raluca Radulescu with the Society's British branch President, Prof Elizabeth Archibald.Emeritus Professor Peter Field and Dr Raluca Radulescu with the Society's British branch President, Prof Elizabeth Archibald.Bangor University has been the centre of all things Arthurian this week, and indeed has been an important centre for the study of Arthurian Literature for over 50 years.

Bangor University’s School of English, which has a long established MA in Arthurian Literature, hosted the International Arthurian Society British Branch Annual Conference this week, with papers being discussed on a wide range of Arthurian topics from the medieval to the modern period.

The first academic Journal of the society, JIAS (Journal of the International Arthurian Society) was launched at the conference. The Journal, edited by Dr Raluca Radulescu, current Arthurian expert and leader of the Arthurian Literature courses at Bangor University’s School of English, covers Arthurian literature from the medieval to the modern period and publishes papers in English, French and German.

At the Conference, Prof. Peter Field, Emeritus Professor of Arthurian Literature from Bangor University was also presented with an early copy of a new publication on Sir Thomas Malory:  Le Morte Darthur, which he edited.

Prof Field received an advanced copy of his work from Dr Richard Barber, of the publishing company.Prof Field received an advanced copy of his work from Dr Richard Barber, of the publishing company.Prof Field is one of the world’s leading experts on of the Arthurian classic, Malory’s Morte Darthur, completed in 1469-70. Many years in preparation, this two volume set will shed new light on one of the jewels of medieval literature.

Founding director of publishers, D.S.Brewer, an imprint of Boydell & Brewer Ltd, Dr Richard Barber, presented the early copy of this two volume edition, which represents the culmination of a lifetime’s work for Prof Field.

Prof Field said: “This represents part of the natural output from Bangor University, as one of the centres of excellence in the study of Arthurian literature. The story of Arthur is one of the most successful non-religious stories in the world.”

Regarding receiving the advance copy of the edition, he said: “As always with a project as large as this two volume work, it is satisfying and a relief to be handed the work in a physical form, and a relief to get the burden off your back.”

At the weekend, Dr Raluca Radulescu also be will leading an Arthurian tour of north Wales, organised by CADW and Literature Wales, calling at significant points of interest.

Dr Radulescu said:

Dr Raluca radulescu.Dr Raluca Radulescu.“One of the most interesting Arthurian tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which is actually set in north Wales, still has resonance for modern governments and states. It can be read as an interesting power struggle between the centralist Arthurian court and the margins of the kingdom. Although an other-worldly tale, as well as teaching about chivalry, it gives a message to the Centre that the margins or borderlands should not be ignored.

Publication date: 11 September 2013