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Stories of King Arthur and the Round Table

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Clay, Beatrice. Stories of King Arthur and the Round Table. Ill. Dora Curtis. London: J. M. Dent, n.d. [1905].

Beatrice Clay's Stories from King Arthur and His Round Table is a reworking of an earlier version of the book, Stories from Le Morte Darthur and the Mabinogion (1901). Both editions includes retellings of tales from the Mabinogion as well as from Malory. But there are some differences between the two, the main one being the inclusion by Clay of additional material on Morgan le Fay and the reflection of this expansion in Curtis's illustrations. Clay says of Morgan that 'the difficulty of handling this somewhat unpleasant character was so great that, practically, she did not appear in the first edition of this little work. It was pointed out to me, however, that Arthurian stories that had nothing to tell about this great sorceress were somewhat in the case of a 'Hamlet' without the Ghost, and so I have now endeavoured to include her story by treating it with a boldness that, I trust, may not be inexcusable.' Indeed the inclusion of Morgan is part of a pattern in the early sections of this book of focusing on wicked but powerful women who are given prominence in the illustrations. While there are also some fine images of male characters, throughout the book's illustrations there is an emphasis on women that reflects the emphasis on them in the text. In both the images of women and those of men, the text and illustrations complement each other in such a way as to suggest a true collaboration between writer and artist

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