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Thursday, October 22, 2015

“King Arthur’s Avalon: The Story of Glastonbury”, by Geoffrey Ashe

350 pages, Barnes & Noble Books, ISBN-13: 978-0880298506

While I bought this book in 1992 from the Barnes & Noble overstock aisle, it was first published in 1957, and this edition is basically a reproduction of the first edition. Geoffrey Ashe is a British cultural historian, lecturer, and author of historical books and novels, known for his focus on King Arthur (and, he is all of 92-years-old!) The point of many of his Arthurian works – this one especially – was to establish King Arthur as an historical fact, rather than as a series of legends. As such, his book goes a long way towards making a coherent narrative out of the whole tangle of tales and stories that have accumulated about Arthur and the legend of the Holy Grail. It is written for the general reader in mind and, as Ashe really doesn’t give a damn about academic historians or their established theories and concepts, his own many theories and concepts will leave many people perplexed and not a little curious. Not a proper history, then, but rather a well-written and persuasive – but not necessarily accurate or true – theory of Arthur and his (possible) place in the history of Britain.

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