King Arthur & the Matter of Britain

Sources · History & Archaeology · Welsh Bards · Malory · Arthur · Gawain · Guenevere · Percival · Merlin · Tristan & Iseult · Elaine of Astolat
Picture: Waterhouse - The Lady of Shalott Elaine the Fair of Astolat is a maiden who dies of grief when Lancelot will not love her. The story appears in the vulgate Mort Artu and in Malory, but it is the Victorians who embraced the tale. The best-known retelling is Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott", in two versions (1833 and 1842), which inspired dozens of images of the maiden weaving in her bower, or setting out heart-broken on the barge that will bear her dead body to Camelot, by such artists as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John William Waterhouse, Howard Pyle, Elizabeth Siddal, and H.J. Ford.

Tennyson revisited the tale again in 1859 in Idylls of the King, where the story is called "Lancelot and Elaine."

The Lady of Shalott

Elaine of Astolat, an index of texts and images at the Camelot Project. New URL.
Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott: An Overview" at the Victorian Web includes an essay by Elizabeth Nelson on the Victorian paintings inspired by the poem. New URLs.

Versions of the Tale

The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. New URL.

The 1833 and 1842 versions, and a side-by-side comparison of the two, at the Camelot Project. New !
How Sir Launcelot rode to Astolat, and received a sleeve to wear upon his helm at the request of a maid..., the story as told by Malory in Le Morte D'Arthur, at the World Wide School.

And another version at Celtic Twilight. New URLs.
The Ballad of Elaine by Sidney Fowler Wright, at Britannia.
Lancelot and Elaine from Idylls of the King by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1859). New URL.
Loreena McKennitt set "The Lady of Shalott" to music on her album The Visit (1992).

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22 February 2004