Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tyler Tichelaar's King Arthur's Children

Tyler Tichelaar, medievalist, novelist, and professional editor and book reviewer, has recently published King Arthur's Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition (Modern History Press, 2011), a revision and expansion of his 1995 MA thesis. The book focuses primarily on Arthur's children and descendants in medieval literature but also includes sections on their representation in postmedieval texts, including twentieth-century fiction and select films. A press release on Tichelaar's website offers the following information:
Marquette, MI—Scholars and archeologists continue to debate whether King Arthur ever lived, but if he were a real person, mathematical and DNA evidence reveals that almost the entire human race could be descended from the sixth century British king, a possibility that has inspired many writers, from medieval historians to modern novelists. Now all the evidence for King Arthur’s children and descendants is compiled and analyzed in one volume—Tyler R. Tichelaar’s “King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition” (ISBN 9781615990665 trade paper, 9781615990672 hardcover; Modern History Press, 2011).

While Mordred is the only child of King Arthur most people remember, in the Arthurian legend’s earliest versions, Mordred was only Arthur’s nephew, and some traditions suggest he was not even related to Arthur but a rival king. By contrast, ancient Welsh traditions provide King Arthur with three sons: Gwydre, Llacheu, and Amr, and the latter may be the earliest version of Mordred. While the Welsh legends state these sons all died before Arthur, other medieval traditions suggest Arthur’s descendants outlived him. 
Considering possibilities that Mordred was a Scottish king whose crown Arthur tried to usurp and that the Arthurian legend has only been told from the conqueror’s point of view, Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., redeems Mordred’s character while also exploring obscure Arthurian genealogies, including claims that Scotland’s Clan Campbell and even the British royal family are King Arthur’s descendants. Separating fact from fiction in multiple and conflicting traditions, Dr. Tichelaar reveals how the Arthurian legend has been used as both a political weapon and an escapist fantasy. 
A significant portion of “King Arthur’s Children” also treats modern novelists’ interpretations of the Arthurian legend—including works by Stephen Lawhead, Elizabeth Wein, and Bernard Cornwell—that provide modern readers with a fresh connecting point to the dream of Camelot. Dr. Tichelaar’s striking conclusions about all these treatments of King Arthur’s children and descendants makes for fascinating reading about the psychological impact King Arthur still has upon the human imagination.
The book can be purchased directly from Tichelaar at his website, which also includes a sample chapter and other promotional material as part of a media kit. In addition, Tichelaar has passed along links to a review and interview posted on

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