Legends offers "a personal journey through the worlds of Robin Hood, King Arthur, D'Artagnan, and other swashbuckling characters of balladry, fiction, and film, from the shores of Avalon to the dungeons of Zenda." The site promises "guided access to primary source material and up-to-date scholarship, personal essays and extended reviews, and historical surveys and thoughtful commentary." A view of the links under the general heading "King Arthur and the Matter of Britain" shows that Legends delivers on this promise.
On the King Arthur page, the researcher will find a link to TEAMS (Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages) Middle English texts, containing many primary Arthurian sources. "History & Archaeology" not only provides an overview of England during the Dark Ages, but also includes the article "The Historicity and Historicisation of Arthur," a scholarly summation of the current debate on the historical Arthur by Thomas Green of Exeter College, Oxford, England. Further links "Arthur," "Gawain," "Guenevere," "Percival," "Merlin," "Tristan & Iseult," and "Elaine of Astolat" offer lengthy, scholarly articles, each with helpful bibliographies of print sources. Sir Thomas Malory's Le Mort D'Arthur is the source of the Arthurian sagas, as we know them today. More information about Malory and the redactional history of his works would have been helpful.
Legends is not confined strictly to English-language source material. The link "Sagas and Sea-Kings" from the home page contains a translation of "The Story of the Volsungs" from the thirteenth-century Icelandic Edda. Under this general heading we also find "The Nibelungenlied" and other links and synopses to Wagner's Ring Cycle. From the home page, "Paladins and Princes" will link the researcher to "Chanson de Roland" in both Old French and English translation. "Orlando Furioso" and "The Cid" are also found under this link. Also on the home page, "Erin and Alba" provides a corpus of early Irish tales in various medieval compilations.
Anyone interested in European and/or English folklore and mythology will find a treasure trove of fascinating and scholarly information in Legends. The site is easy to navigate, with obvious links and helpful annotations but a few of the sub-links are broken. Finally, the Legends site offers "romance, adventure, and panache." Legends is that rare site, offering scholarly information to the undergraduate student, and at the same time, entertaining and useful background information for the general user.
Waubonsee Community College