King Arthur's Enchantresses

King Arthur's Enchantresses : Morgan and Her Sisters in Arthurian Tradition

4.19 (51 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 22.86mm | 314g
  • New York, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 36 bw integrated, 8pp colour proofs
  • 1784530417
  • 9781784530419
  • 769,501

Table of contents


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

List of Pictures and Sources
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Review quote

King Arthur summons visions of courtly chivalry, towering castles, windswept battlefields, heroic quests, and above all of the monarch who dies but who one day shall return. The Arthurian legend lives on as powerfully and enduringly as ever. Yet central to these stories are the mysterious, sexually alluring enchantresses - spellcasters, mistresses of magic who wield extraordinary influence over Arthur's life and destiny. Carolyne Larrington takes her readers on a quest to discover why these dangerous women continue to bewitch us. She explores them as they appear in poetry and painting, on the Internet and TV, in high and popular culture and shows that whether they be chaste or depraved, necrophiliacs or virgins, they are manifestations of the Other, frightening and fascinating in equal measure. 'Original, intelligent, persuasive and always interesting, Carolyne Larrington makes us see the Arthurian legends in a new light. For anyone with the slightest interest in the subject, King Arthur's Enchantresses will be essential reading.' - Allan Massie, author of Arthur the King 'If you have always loved the stories of the Knights of the Round Table, but want to know more: then this is the book for you. If you've heard of the names - Lancelot, Guinevere, Morgan Le Fay - but never read the stories: then King Arthur's Enchantresses is the book that you have to read. New ideas and lost interpretations are brought together in this hugely entertaining and clever book that bridges the gap between simple pleasure and real scholarship.' - Jeanette Winterson, author and broadcaster
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About Carolyne Larrington

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)
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Rating details

51 ratings
4.19 out of 5 stars
5 41% (21)
4 39% (20)
3 18% (9)
2 2% (1)
1 0% (0)
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