Exposing Arthur’s Celtic roots

Despite recent interpretations giving Arthur English, French or cockney accents, a new academic book launched today (28 February)  at Bangor University firmly plants him in the Celtic lands and Celtic languages.

Arthur in the Celtic Languages, The Arthurian Legend in Celtic Literatures and Traditions, is published by the University of Wales Press and edited by Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan, an Honorary Research Fellow at Bangor University. This is the first volume to present a comprehensive authoritative survey of Arthurian literature and traditions in the Celtic languages of Welsh, Cornish, Breton, Irish and Scottish Gaelic.

The launch is hosted by Bangor University’s Centre for Arthurian Studies, a hub for international research in Arthurian Studies, and follows a symposium on the same topic held at Bangor University last year.

Professor Raluca Radulescu, Director of the Centre commented:

“This is a book that will change thinking on this topic for a generation; no such volume has ever tackled all medieval and modern retellings of Arthurian legends in all the Celtic languages. The chapters tackle the most recent scholarly debates on the topic, and open up new avenues for research in Celtic Arthurian studies.

“That’s why we’re particularly delighted to host the launch of this important volume.  

“This volume will be a vital resource for any student of the Celtic Arthurian stories. It provides new insights into how the figure of Arthur evolved from the leader of a warband in early medieval north Britain to a king whose court becomes the starting-point for knightly adventures. It also covers how characters and tales have been reimagined, reshaped and reinterpreted over the centuries, up to the present day.”

Dr Aled Llion Jones, of Bangor’s School of Welsh and Celtic Studies added:

“This new book gives us a unique opportunity to see how these important early Welsh legends became the currency of all the Celtic languages.”

Bangor University has a long-standing link to Arthurian studies in the Celtic languages, and offers rare postgraduate degree opportunities to study world-wide Arthurian literature. Boasting unrivalled resources, including many rare books and manuscripts, the Centre for Arthurian Studies has hosted over 200 international and national research visits by students and international researchers.  

Publication date: 28 February 2019