21W.758 | Fall 2016 | Undergraduate
Genre Fiction Workshop: Fantasy
Lecture Notes

Session 6

Mists of Avalon

Why this book is so central to our study/writing

  1. Cannot escape Arthur
  2. Retelling with new angle totally central to fantasy
  3. One central reimagining

➞ Understand that in the late 70s the idea of Arthur as Christian in pagan Britain & uniting the two was a new, exciting idea - but it was around - it was not Bradley’s ONE true innovation (though she uses it quite brilliantly, especially making the Merlin a title & not an individual & The Lady of the Lake again, a title)

What is her innovation? (to tell form the pagan women’s side)

  • Morgaine not the villain!


Gardner, John. Grendel. Vintage Books, 1989. ISBN: 9780679723110.

How is a villain not the villain?

She takes this one change, plus the very popular idea of the time (Christian vs. pagan) and then follows logically but in doing so explains a LOT of what we might call the “silly” or “perplexing” features of the Arthurian mythos

Exercises - Morphing

  1. Group morph (several times, only one change, follow logically, make sense of things that don’t make sense)
    • Fairy tales for grownups
    • Change in


Who’s the bad guy? (or humanize the bad guy)

  1. Ballad morph
    • (Group 1 - no magic in the ballad)
Course Info
As Taught In
Fall 2016
Learning Resource Types
notes Lecture Notes
assignment_turned_in Written Assignments with Examples