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This first comprehensive treatment of Arthurian literature in the English language up until the end of the Middle Ages is now available for the first time in paperback. English people think of Arthur as their own – stamped on the landscape in scores of place-names, echoed in the names of princes even today. Yet some would say the English were the historical Arthur's bitterest enemies and usurpers of his heritage. The process by which Arthurian legends have become an important part of England's cultural heritage is traced in this book. Previous studies have concentrated on the handful of chivalric romances, which have given the impression that Arthur is a hero of romantic escapism. This study seeks to provide a more comprehensive and insightful look at the English Arthurian legends and how they evolved. It focuses primarily upon the literary aspects of Arthurian legend, but it also makes some important political and social observations.