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Sir Dinadan, son of Sir Brunor Senior and trusted friend of Sir Tristan, is without a doubt the most ‘modern’ of all the characters in the wide universe of medieval Arthurian literature, Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur included. First introduced to the world in the Old French Prose Tristan, he has been described in modern scholarship as a ‘counter-hero’, a ‘Knight with reservations’, a ‘bufón y caballero salvaje’ (‘jester and wild knight’), a ‘foil’, a ‘misfit’, an ‘anti-knight’ and even ‘disturbing and reassuring’. In the words of one critic, he is ‘a reluctant knight, devoted friend, skillful parodist, mocker of chivalric custom and’, despite all of this, ‘a supporter of chivalric ideals’.
Ever since the first modern critical appraisal of Sir Dinadan by Eugène Vinaver in 1925, readers have struggled to understand where he came from and what his function really is in the French, Italian, Iberian and English continuations and adaptations of the original Old French text. Stefano Mula claims that Dinadan was created to fill a gap left by Sir Kahedin, who in the Prose Tristan loves Iseult, excites Tristan's jealousy and triggers his madness. Kahedin meets an untimely end, leaving Tristan without a close friend; enter Dinadan, who appears out of nowhere and like Kahedin before him, is harshly critical of chivalric excesses. Dinadan takes the latter's place and serves as the reasonable half of Tristan, ‘someone with more sensible views on the world’. In the Old French Prose Tristan he is used to illustrate knightly virtues and vices, and in Vinaver's words, ‘Dinadan is perhaps the most human, if not the most attractive character in the French romance’.
Needless to say, Malory made some notable and significant changes to the character of Dinadan from what he found in his French sources. I have neither the space nor the need to review all of these here. In what follows I wish simply to remind the reader of two aspects of Dinadan's characterization in the Morte Darthur, namely Malory's emphasis on knightliness and the ultimately positive portrayal of Dinadan, before highlighting a third aspect, following which I will briefly highlight a potentially significant connection between this exceptional character and Sir Gareth that has gone virtually unnoticed.
The material in this volume ranges from Germanic epic and early Welsh saints’ lives to twenty-first century comic books. This is characteristic of the Arthurian Literature series which since its inception in 1981 has always cast its net very widely over Western European culture. We are delighted that the founding editor, Richard Barber, has contributed a characteristically stimulating interdisciplinary study of swords belonging to Arthurian and other heroes. He himself has heroic stature in the world of Arthurian studies, both as an historian and as an editor and publisher. Andrew Rabin's discussion of Caradog's Vita Gildae throws light on the complex attitudes to Arthur of contemporaries of Geoffrey of Monmouth in a time of political turmoil in England, the Anarchy: Arthur is represented both as a tyrannical ruler and a conciliator, an ambivalence which Rabin notes in other Latin accounts of the king produced at this time. Christopher Berard also considers the use of Arthurian material for political purposes: borrowings from Geoffrey's Historia appear in a chronicle of Anglo-Scottish relations in the time of Edward I, a well-known admirer of the Arthurian legend. Berard argues that these borrowings would have appealed to the clerical élite of the time. Usha Vishnuvajjala focuses on women and their friendships in Ywain and Gawain, the only known close English adaptation of a romance by Chrétien. She argues that this text does not align with received wisdom about medieval friendship, or with conventional binaries about stereotypical gendered behaviour. Natalie Goodison considers the mixture of sacred and secular in The Turke and Gawain, and finds fascinating alchemical parallels for a puzzling beheading episode. Mary Bateman discusses the views on native and foreign sources of three sixteenth-century defenders of Arthur, both English and Welsh – John Leland, John Prise and Humphrey Llwyd – and their responses to the criticisms of Polydore Vergil.
In twentieth-century reception history, John Steinbeck was an ardent Arthurian enthusiast: Elaine Treharne and William J. Fowler look at the significance of his annotations to his copy of Malory as he worked on a modern adaptation, the posthumously published The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights.
Authentic learning is an approach to teaching where the learning is embedded in a real world context, in real situations or simulations, and offers students opportunities for problem solving challenges much like they will encounter in real life. This paper discusses and reflects upon the development a course designed to teach Socially Responsible Design approaches, methods and tools to Product Design Engineering students using global projects. Our research question was to investigate if this Socially Responsible Design course, it's structure, delivery, learning activities and assessments combined to deliver an authentic learning experience. Through informal interviews with staff, review of student reflections, review of university student feedback comments and consideration of final outcomes, all within the framework of Herrington and Oliver's nine elements of authentic learning, we found that this course did provide an authentic learning experience for many reasons. This study offers academics a frame work for reviewing existing and future courses with a view to creating or enhancing authentic learning experiences using project based learning
Volume 34 of Arthurian Literature presents essays that revisit the familiar and introduce the unfamiliar, ranging from Chrétien's Erec et Enide, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Malory to a hitherto unpublished Middle English poem on Arthur's drawing of the sword from the stone and a little-known Irish Arthurian text, plus a re-evaluation of the cross supposedly found in Arthur's grave at Glastonbury.
Rebecca Newby's examination of the ending of Chrétien's Erec et Enide constitutes a case study in which she explores the extent to which Chrétien's endings conform to medieval theories of poetic composition, with an eye to discovering whether ‘they do in fact contain a nucleus of poetic truth or not’. She studies the structure of Chrétien's poem, paying special attention to endings – both ‘illusory’ and ‘actual’ – and argues that Erec and Enide are also ‘symbolic figures’, or ‘allegorical apotheoses of chivalric matière and beautiful poetic, form respectively’. Neil Cartlidge asks several questions of the opening frame of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, most notably regarding the identity of the knight who is said by the narrator to have committed an act of treason. Can he be identified? The poem's earliest editors decided on either Aeneas or Antenor, but Cartlidge argues for a new approach to this question, and comes to the striking conclusion that the person who best fits the profile within the context of the Fall of Troy narrative is in fact Paris. Nicole Clifton reads Sir Gawain's deathbed scene in Malory's Morte Darthur, offering an answer to the question of how Gawain knows the exact hour of his death. His prediction, according to Clifton, is neither prophetic nor symbolic, as other critics have argued, but simply a matter of factual observation. Furthermore, she argues that Arthur's subsequent dream of Gawain need not necessarily amount to prophecy on Gawain's part either, as some would have it, but has instead a pragmatic explanation as well. Clifton concludes that such passages point to Malory being ‘a hard-headed knight-prisoner whose real-life experience inflects his reading of assorted French books’, rather than ‘a nostalgic writer in love with “olde romaunce” ’.