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For fifteen centuries, legends of King Arthur have inspired generations. In the misty past of a Britain under siege, half-remembered events became shrouded in ancient myth and folklore. The resulting tales were told and retold, until over time Arthur, Camelot, Avalon, the Round Table, the Holy Grail, Excalibur, Lancelot and Guinevere all became instantly recognizable icons. Along the way, Arthur’s life and times were recast in the mould of the hero’s journey: his miraculous conception at Tintagel through the magical intercession of his shaman guide, Merlin; the childhood deed of pulling the Sword from the Stone through which Arthur was anointed King; the Quest for the Holy Grail, the most sacred object in Christendom; the betrayal of Arthur by his wife and champion; and the apocalyptic battle between Good and Evil, ending with Arthur’s journey to the Otherworld.

Arthur: God and Hero in Avalon views Arthur in terms of comparative mythology, and argues that the Once and Future King remains relevant because his story speaks so eloquently about universal human needs and anxieties. The book discusses the tales of King Arthur, from the very earliest versions to the most recent film and television adaptations, and offers readers an insight into why Arthur remains so popular.



Publication Date



Reaktion Books


London, UK

Department 1



The book's introduction is available to download.

Arthur: God and Hero in Avalon