King Arthur's Enchantresses: Morgan and Her Sisters in Arthurian Tradition
Central to the legends of King Arthur are the mysterious, sexually alluring enchantresses, those spellcasters and mistresses of magic who wield extraordinary influence over Arthur's life and destiny, bestriding the Camelot mythology with a dark and brooding presence. Yet until now no book has told their stories in depth. Carolyne Larrington brings these dangerous women fully and vibrantly to life. Here is Morgan-le-Fay, a complex sorceress of immense cunning and skill, immortalised by Helen Mirren's Morgana in John Boorman's film Excalibur. Here too are the mystical Lady of the Lake; the beguiling Viviane, Merlin's deadly nemesis; and Morgause, Queen of Orkney, mother to Mordred, Arthur's incestuously-conceived son and his bitterest foe. Echoing the search for the Grail by the Knights of the Round Table, Larrington takes her readers on an intriguing quest - to discover why, over the centuries, the Arthurian enchrantresses have continued to bewitch those caught in their seductive web. Whether chaste or depraved, necrophiliacs or virgins, benevolent or filled with hatred, the enchantresses are seen to represent a strain of female power that challenges male chivalric values from within. King Arthur's Enchantresses makes a unique contribution to writing on the Arthurian myths. It will intrigue and delight anyone with an interest in mythology, religion, cultural history and medieval literature.
Carolyne Larrington is Fellow and Tutor in Medieval English Literature at St John's College, Oxford. Her previous books include Magical Tales: Myth, Legend and Enchantment in Children's Books (2013)
Acknowledgements Introduction Magic and the Enchantress Morgan and Arthur Morgan and Chivalry Morgan, Other Knights and Enchantesses Viviane, the Damoiselle Cacheresse and the Lady of the Lake The Queen of Orkney Vivien and the Victorians Morgan, Morgause and the Modern Age Notes Bibliography List of Pictures and Sources Index