Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English and Theatre

First Advisor

Gerald Nachtwey

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Second Advisor

James R. Keller

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Third Advisor

Rick Mott

Abstract

Literature is often a product of its time, though some works can be said to be more indicative of the time period they came from than others. This thesis inspects Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, not only as products of their time but also as works that illuminate the formation of gender identity within their respective time periods. Malory’s unique experience as an acting knight throughout the fifteenth century influenced his version of the existing legends of Arthur and his court injecting then-current chivalric ideals into the text. Bradley worked to write a text focusing on these very same masculine legends that responded to them with a feminine retelling which was influenced by the second wave of the feminist movement that Bradley lived through. Pulling from various medieval and feminist scholars, this thesis argues the validity and representation of both author’s works while explaining why Bradley’s revision was needed and how it unifies the past legends centered around Arthur with a more unified and equal future.

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