- Visualizing Camelot: An Introduction
- Visualizing Camelot in Everyday Life
- Visualizing Camelot at the Movies
- Visualizing Camelot in Popular Culture
- Visualizing Camelot: Major Authors
- Illustrated Malory Editions
- Ashendene Press Malory and "The Barge to Avalon"
- Retellings of Malory
- Illustrated Tennyson Editions
- Tennyson's Influence on Popular Art and Culture
- Tennyson, Watts, and the Strength of Ten
- Art Based on Malory and Tennyson
- Illustrating Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
- Reworking Twain's Connecticut Yankee
- T. H. White
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
- Children's Books
- Visualizing Camelot through Iconic Images
- Women Illustrators
- Credits and Acknowledgments
- 2024 Events and Programming for Visualizing Camelot
Visualizing Camelot: Major Authors
Most of the Arthurian images through which we visualize Camelot are based on the literary works that form “the great tradition” of Arthurian literature in English: Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur; Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King; Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; and T. H. White’s The Once and Future King.
For speakers of English, Malory’s Morte is the central text in the Arthurian tradition—central, because it drew upon earlier texts in both the romance and the chronicle traditions and because it influenced so many subsequent Arthurian works. It also inspired countless remarkable images in editions illustrated by artists such as Aubrey Beardsley, Russell Flint, Arthur Rackham, and Anna-Marie Ferguson as well as in retellings decorated with lively images by Howard Pyle, N. C. Wyeth, and others.
Like Malory’s Morte, Tennyson’s Arthurian poems—extremely popular in both England and America—were frequently represented visually in paintings, drawings, and book illustrations as well as in everyday objects such as tiles and bookends. Among the most often depicted of Tennyson’s subjects were the Lady of Shalott, the beautiful woman who died from unrequited love (a figure especially popular with Victorian audiences), and Sir Galahad, whose strength was as “the strength of ten” because his heart was pure and who was seen as an example of contemporary moral chivalry, particularly for the young.
Also widely read was Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee. Brilliantly illustrated in its first edition by Dan Beard (who, like Twain, called attention to the parallels between the feudal system in sixth-century Britain and both slavery in the South before the Civil War and the capitalism of robber barons in the late nineteenth century), Twain’s story was retold in a number of illustrated editions and films; and his notion of a contemporary figure time-traveling to Camelot underlies a host of stories and images in comic books. Similarly, T. H. White’s Arthurian novels not only influenced book illustrations and prints; they have also been adapted to the stage in the play Camelot and to such classic films as Camelot and the animated The Sword in the Stone. And, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the fourteenth-century literary masterpiece Sir Gawain and the Green Knight has found new life in a profusion of illustrated editions, translations, and adaptations.
All of these great works confirm the vitality of the Arthurian legends and reveal the diverse ways that the timeless tales of Camelot have been visually depicted. Above all, they inspire us to reimagine the world and time of King Arthur from our own perspective.