I was laughed out of a room back in 1992 when I proposed that there might be a real, human being behind the legendary King Arthur. Perhaps that is not so strange, not for 1992, and I’m an American, so what would I know about King Arthur, anyway?
Well, it was 1992 at Jesus College of Oxford University in Oxford, England. I was studying abroad as part of the University of Georgia at Oxford Programme, affectionately known as, UGA at Oxford. (You should check out the programme! It has grown and is most impressive: UGA at Oxford)
Where was I…oh yes, 1992, Jesus College, around 9 AM or so in one of the smaller rooms in Jesus, Medieval Literature class on Chaucer, taught by Dr. Judith Shaw. I had talked and talked to Dr. Shaw about the possibility of an historical Arthur, and she finally allowed me…(challenged me?)…to present my ideas to my fellow Medieval Literature students.
I prepared a brilliant, 45 minute lecture on historical Arthur. I was met with silence until one fellow actually released an honest snicker.
However, when I announced that I would be taking any interested parties with me to Cornwall the next weekend, with visits to Tintagel, Camelford, Rough Tor, and more…and a side stop in Cheddar and Wookie Hole *cough*, I soon had a coach full of college students eager for the ocean, high cliffs, pints by the sea, and anything else that involved alcohol.
And we were Oxford students…everything involved alcohol.
Did I mention the time that the don who roomed above me had his tiny refrigerator stolen? And that somehow that stolen refrigerator turned up in my rooms? It was a trying time, I tell you, and a knee knocker when I had to stand before the fellow in charge of discipline, Mr. Dea’ath…yes, pronounced Day-oth…but looks an awfully lot like Death, doesn’t it? One of the other Jesus administrators was named Mr. Payne. I kid you not.
So, Dr. Shaw, thanks for the confidence and the challenge way back in 1992! See, I wasn’t just full of shite!
To my intrepid peers who followed me to Tintagel that summer and dared the steps of the ruins (and got stuck on the cliffs in the dark), see? I wasn’t just full of shite 😛
To those who believe in King Arthur…I mean REALLY believe in King Arthur….raise a toast! HUZZAH!
You can follow my dialogue with John Matthews while he’s in Croatia over at my Facebook Page. Come over and join us! The conference ends on April 2nd! We should have pictures in a few days of the ruins!