The Arthurian Fiction in Medieval Europe: Narratives and Manuscripts is a research tool that provides information on medieval Arthurian narratives and the manuscripts in which they are transmitted throughout Europe.
The database consists of linked records on over two hundred texts, more than thousand manuscripts and two hundred persons. With the publication of this tool, the compilers hope to foster further research into Arthurian fiction as a pan-European phenomenon. The database is work in progress: a considerable number of records have yet to be completed, while fresh discoveries of narratives and manuscripts invite new entries.
The whole corpus of medieval Arthurian narratives (stories about King Arthur and his companions) on a supranational level was studied in the NWO funded project (2004-2008) ´Arthurian Fiction: A Pan-European Approach´, led by Bart Besamusca.
The project described the Arthurian texts and the manuscripts in which they have survived, written between c. 1150 and c.1550. In the Arthurian Fiction web database these data have become available on-line, enabling scholars to answer questions on a pan-European.
Some examples of questions that may be posed to the database:
- How, where, why and by whom were Arthurian texts composed and transmitted?
- What kind of authors wrote these tales?
- What kind of heroes figure in these texts?
- Who were the patrons of the manuscripts?
- What kind of books did they prefer?
Arthurian stories constitute one of the most influential genres of western literature, and are studied intensively. Their fictional character made them ideal vehicles for expressing the social concerns and cultural values of their audiences. The site is available at http://www.arthurianfiction.org
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