February 21st, 2019

Becket

a fellow shipper, redux

I am naturally intrigued by the parallels that T. H. White drew regarding his approach to chronology in The Once and Future King as they are relevant to my interests:
If I had to fix a precise date, at a guess, for the period of which Malory was dreaming, I would say that he probably thought of Arthur as a contemporary of Henry II. His chivalry is the Norman chivalry of that king, with the Saxon left out. With all the enthusiasm of the present-day antiquarian who pictures the great Duke of Marlborough, and forgets the blood he waded through, Malory seems to have looked back three centuries to Henry II, forgetting the conquered serf. His Arthur stands, to my mind, in a sort of poeticized aura of the twelfth century: that extraordinary century of individualism, in which the second Henry, like Arthur, had a wife who was not above reproach (?), a bosom friend (Becket) with whom, as Arthur with Lancelot, he had an intense emotional bond, an empire beyond the Channel, and sons like Mordred to destroy him. But I have not, for this reason, confined my own version of Arthur to the 12th century.
Sure, why not.

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