December 11th, 2006

Arthurian Update

It's been ages since I've provided any sort of update about the research for my Arthurian novel(s). Previously I was e-rambling about reading TRISTAN. Well, that book is finished. Very boring, and out of the whole book I think I squeezed out about five pages of useful material. So it goes.

I've also been reading the story of King Arthur in BULLFINCH'S MYTHOLOGY. It basically follows the story as it's presented in LE MORTE D'ARTHUR, but this is a condensed retelling and it does draw on some other sources. It's a good refresher and it's also provided some really useful nuggets.

I still have a lot of reading left--some non-fiction reseach & a few more reinterpretations--but I did reach a major point in my preparation today. A few minutes ago I just finished putting together a rough timeline for my version of Arthuriana.

It traces the mythical foundings of the isles of Britain (or Samothea, as it was called way back when) and Ireland (Ireland is done in broadstrokes, while Britain's is rather detailed) all the way to when my story starts, around twenty years into Arthur's reign. There are some variances as to when and how these isles started and how their histories unfolded, but based on my research + the versions of pseudo-history I most relied upon + whatever tweaks I found necessary to make everything to fit together, the timeline stretches from 2375 BC - 517 AD.

Putting this together was difficult. In many respects Irish & British pseudohistory don't compliment each other. Not to mention that based on the existing materials I've read to date, Arthuriana doesn't really integrate smoothly with the Tristan mythos. Obviously "concessions" had to be made on all sides in order to make the timeline work for my purposes. And since the focus of this story is Arthuriana, the Irish pseudohistory definitely took the biggest hit.

So it goes. But I tried to integrate as much of the richness of Eriu as possible, and did my best to literary tapdance around the spots where many of the strongest contradictions between pseudohistories occur.

Overall I'm very happy with the initial result . . .and thanks God it's done. The damn thing runs 20 pages, much of it single-spaced. While putting it together I was amazed how much Arthurian information I had retained, and also how much I had forgotten. The timeline will definitely make things easier.

So, next on the agenda: finish the Bullfinch version of Arthur and start putting together some character sketches. I'm not a big fan of the latter, but for something this complex (not to mention these characters aren't mine), I think some brief sketches will prove awfully helpful.

Onward!