Le Morte d'Arthur

Malory and His Launcelot: Returning to God College

In the years between Geoffrey of Monmouth’s (1136) History of the Kings of Britain, which featured tales of a young warrior who would become ruler of an empire, and the prison-inked Le Morte Darthur of Sir Thomas Malory, the religious landscape of Europe began to shift from thoroughly Christian to a mixture of traditional beliefs and newfound spiritualism. In detailed study on the religion of the period, Tanner (2009) highlights a declining population due to the Black Death, the spread of the Ottoman Empire into Europe, and general disillusionment with the church following the Western Schism as reasons for waning support for the church. Due to the rise of other religious beliefs during its composition and passages selected from the work, some critics have argued Malory’s (1485) Morte is a secularized telling of Arthurian lore rather than being influenced by Christianity. Even the seminal Holy Grail section, The Noble Tale of the Sankgreall, has been argued as a simplified telling of the divine chalice that eschews the overly Christian elements in favor of a secularized account. Eugene Vinaver (1947) argues Malory’s Grail section is the least original of the author’s work. Writing of the translation from the source material, the...

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