The Harlem Renaissance & Beyond

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King Arthur in Wales—The Mabinogion
Grasp how Arthur became a cultural touchstone early in Welsh history. In texts such as the Black Book of Carmarthen and the Triads of the Island of Britain, uncover key references to the Arthurian saga. In the tales of the Mabinogion, observe the portrayal of Arthur as an exalted royal…
Monmouth, Merlin, and Courtly Love
Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain is arguably the most important literary artifact of the Arthurian tradition. Learn about the political nature of the text, the important elements and characters that Geoffrey wove into it, and how he established the basics of the Arthurian legend as we…
The Arthurian Sagas of Scandinavia
Follow the legend of Arthur into the literary traditions of medieval Iceland and Norway. Learn how Norwegian king Hakon Hakonarson commissioned adaptations of Arthurian works into Old Norse, and explore distinct differences in ethos, sensibility, and emphasis between the Continental and Scandinavian versions of the knightly saga.
Enriching the Legend—Tristan and Isolde
The Celtic legend of Tristan and Isolde was assimilated as a key element of the Arthurian tradition. Study the narrative of the Tristan story as it emerged in two distinct literary traditions, and grasp how the story's appeal led to Sir Tristan being "co-opted" as a knight of the Round…
The Holy Grail from Chrétien to Dan Brown
No physical object in the Arthurian canon carries more symbolic weight than the Holy Grail. Discover the origins and varied manifestations of the Grail, explore the most celebrated of the literary Grail narratives, and investigate why the Grail has fired the imagination of writers from the medieval world to the…
Spenser, Milton, and the Renaissance Arthur
In a relatively sparse era of Arthurian literary output, trace noteworthy currents of the saga in Spenser, Milton, and the work of Renaissance historians. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, note the rise of Arthur's presence in popular ballads, songs, and poetry, and his remarkable portrayal on the stage in…
The Peasants' Revolt of 1381
Grasp how both religious frustrations and economic grievances stemming from the dislocations of the Black Death combined to bring about the most significant event in Richard II's early reign: the Middle Age's most serious revolt against the English crown.
The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxons
Learn why the 10th century is often referred to as the Golden Age of the Anglo-Saxons. It produces not only vernacular literary masterpieces like Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon but inspiring sermons, monastic reform, and an artistic renaissance encompassing book production, metalwork, and needlework.
The Divine Michelangelo Part 1
Part of the Series: The Divine Michelangelo
Michelangelo's path to success was plagued with difficulties. This programme traces the troubled origins of his genius, from boyhood beatings from his father, to fights with fellow artists. His father's feeling that his obsession with art would bring disgrace to the family failed to deter the young, determined Michelangelo. Inspiration…
The Divine Michelangelo Part 2
Part of the Series: The Divine Michelangelo
The story of Michelangelo's titanic struggle to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, one of the artistic marvels of the world. Imagine the torture of painting an area the size of a football pitch, 20 metres off the ground. From 1508 to 1512, this is exactly what Michelangelo was…
Alexander the Great Goes East
With the successful invasion of the western Persian Empire, Philip's son successfully carried out his father's plan. Alexander the Great would then create his own path, and you follow him along the route of the greatest sustained conquest the world had yet seen.
The Conquests of Edward I
Explore the reign of Henry's far more talented son, Edward I, from the perspective of both his military career--as a crusader and in Scotland, Wales, and France--and his role as a lawgiver, including greatly expanding the role of Parliament in making statute law.