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Medieval Summer in London

london group

Fordham students visit the Tower of London (London, 2011).

MVST 3500: The Knights of the Round Table

Instructor: Dr Susanne Hafner (hafner@fordham.edu)
Dates: Early July- Early August, 2017
Cost: TBD - Cost includes apartment housing, local transportation, cell phone, course activities, and supplementary insurance. Excursions to: Winchester (to see King Arthur's original "Round Table"), Stonehenge, Canterbury, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, British Library, and various London museums Additional information can be viewed at the Study Abroad page.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2017

For more information please contact: Dr. Susanne Hafner hafner@fordham.edu

This course will look for the traces of King Arthur and his Knights in modern-day London and its environs. Reading the foundational texts of Arthurian literature right where it happened, students will be able to go to the sites and see the artifacts as they occur in the readings. The course will study excerpts from the early annals and chronicles, which laid the foundation for Arthur's fame in history, and it will follow the exploits of some of the most prominent members of the Round Table as they were depicted in medieval literature: Sir Gawain, the ladies' man,, Sir Perceval, the Grail Knight, Sir Tristrem, the knight who fell in love with his uncle's wife, and Merlin the magician (in the modern rendition by Mary Stewart, The Crystal Cave). The course will go on excursions to Winchester to have a look at King Arthur's original "Round Table;" Stonehenge, the mythical stone circle associated with Merlin and his craft; and Canterbury, the destination of the most important pilgrimage on English soil. In London, participants will visit Westminster Abbey, the Tower, museums holding Arthurian artifacts, and the British Library, which holds many manuscripts of the texts that will be read. This immersion into medieval culture will allow students to read Arthurian literature in way uniquely possible in London.

We will go on excursions to Winchester to have a look at King Arthur’s “original” Round Table; Stonehenge, the mysterious stone circle associated with Merlin and his craft; Roman Bath; Canterbury; and the English School of Falconry for a hands-on lesson in medieval aristocratic life. In London, we will visit Westminster Abbey, the Tower, museums, and the British Library. This immersion into medieval culture will allow us to experience Arthurian literature in a way uniquely possible in London.

Student reviews:

I am writing you simply to express my gratitude and praise for Professor Hafner's class, and my overall trip this summer. The course on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table was an amazing experience; being able to view London and its rich medieval history was a unique and exciting opportunity. Professor Hafner truly made the course what it was with her enjoyable trips, assignments, and overall direction of the course. I could not have asked for a better class/teacher, and I would take this course over again in a heartbeat.
- Matthew DeSilva, FCRH '13.

Words cannot even fully explain the experience I had this summer in London Professor Hafner designed her Knights of the Round Table course in a way that made the entire trip an extraordinary adventure. The course involved the students reading various pieces of Arthurian literature and going on scavenger hunts throughout London. Once we found and photographed objects relating to the texts we read, we wrote about it for our class blog. We also took numerous trips to places we read about including Canterbury Cathedral and the great hall in Winchester where the Round Table hangs. Not only did I learn more about medieval literature and London, but I learned more about myself as i searched the city and surrounding places. I highly recommend this course to those looking for adventure.
- Amy Gembara FCRH '14