King Arthur in the Classroom: Teaching Malory in the Early Twentieth Century

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This article examines adaptations of Malory’s Morte Darthur designed for use in the classrooms of state schools, tracing their association with educational reforms and the increasing prominence of English Studies as a curriculum discipline. Malory was appropriated in Britain during this period as part of a pedagogical canon based on dominant definitions of culture, heritage and Englishness. The hybridity of Arthur and the Arthurian tradition rendered the Morte a particularly suitable text for accommodating increasingly flexible definitions of Englishness and nation, which were promoted to children as part of a wider focus upon the timeless values of progressive history and culture, and the ability of English literature to strengthen and develop a character expressed in liberal terms. These texts offer an illuminating case study into the relationship between educational reforms, the English curriculum and literature produced for children, and elucidate the assumptions about pedagogy, the canon and the medieval that underpinned this movement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Review of English Studies
Pages (from-to)23-43
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • children's literature, Malory, Victorian, nineteenth century, medieval, Arthurian, King Arthur, schoolbooks, English studies

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