Report on Elizabeth Evenden’s lecture on Arthurian history.
Wednesday 23 March, 2016
Elizabeth Evenden (Brunel University) gave a Medieval and Renaissance Cluster talk entitled “King Arthur in Iberia: English and Continental responses to Arthurian history before and after the Reformation" on March 9th where she spoke about her recent work on Anglo-Spanish and Anglo-Portuguese relations in early 16th and 17th centuries, through the analysis of early modern printed books from England, Portugal and Spain and their dissemination. The talk explored how tales of King Arthur and his knights reappeared in Portugal and Spain, first as legitimate history of the British, and then after the Reformation when they were viewed with scepticism. At this time people would often mock their usage - particularly when in defence of Britain's Christian heritage. Besides this change in view, they did not lose their popularity. They became entertainment and continued to have polemical value: For Portugal they provided access to chivalry and were recreational reading, while for the catholic Spanish they had a greater link to a valued lineage relating to closer continental relations.