A report on Chivalric romance and Morgan le Fay

Yvain fighting Gawain in order to regain the love of his lady Laudine. Medieval illumination from Chrétien de Troyes's romance, Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion
Morgan le Fay by Frederick Sandys, 1864. "Here she stands in front of a loom on which she has woven an enchanted robe, designed to consume the body of King Arthur by fire. Her appearance with her loose hair, abandoned gestures and draped leopard skin suggests a dangerous and bestial female sexuality. The green robe that Morgan is depicted wearing is actually a kimono."
Holger Danske, or Ogier the Dane, from the Matter of France
Morgan le Fay by Frederick Sandys, 1864
A knight rescues a lady from a dragon.
Fata Morgana (Italian for "Morgan the Fairy" ) by Giambologna (c. 1574)
Morgan with Lancelot under an apple tree in a Siedlęcin Tower fresco (early 14th century)
Morgan le Fay by Edward Burne-Jones (1862)
Henry Fuseli's Prince Arthur and the Fairy Queen (c. 1788)
Frank William Warwick's Voyage of King Arthur and Morgan le Fay to the Isle of Avalon (1888)
Morgan Le Fay by John R. Spencer Stanhope (1880)
Morgan discovers her unfaithful lover with another lady within the Vale of No Return, an illustration for the Vulgate Lancelot du Lac (c. 1480)
William Henry Margetson's illustration for The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1908)
"She was known to have studied magic while she was being brought up in the nunnery."
Queen Morgan le Fay, Beatrice Clay's illustration from Stories of King Arthur and the Round Table (1905)
"There was a time when great was her enmity towards King Arthur, so that she plotted his ruin not once only nor twice; and that is a strange thing, for it is said that she herself was the kinswoman of the King."
Morgan le Fay Casts Away Excalibur's Scabbard, H. J. Ford's illustration for Andrew Lang's Tales of King Arthur and the Round Table (1902)
Howard Pyle's illustration from The Story of the Champions of the Round Table (1905)
"She was clad in all the glory at her command, and her appearance was so shining and radiant that when she came into that room Sir Launcelot knew not whether it was a vision his eyes beheld or whether she was a creature of flesh and blood."
"How Morgain granted Lancelot a leave from her prison to conquer Dolereuse Gard." (Lancelot en prose c. 1494 or later)
How Morgan le Fay Gave a Shield to Sir Tristram by Aubrey Beardsley (1870)
A detail of La Mort d'Arthur (The Death of Arthur) by James Archer (1860)
Morgan and Accolon in Eric Pape's illustration for Madison Cawein's poem "Accolon of Gaul" (1907).
"With haughty, wicked eyes and lovely face, Studied him steadily a little space."
Howard Pyle's illustration from The Story of the Grail and the Passing of King Arthur (1909)
"And Sir Bedivere stood upon the shore and looked upon the face of King Arthur as it lay within the lap of Queen Morgana, and he beheld that the face of King Arthur was white like to the ashes of wood, wherefore he wist that he was dead."
Morte D'Arthur by Daniel Maclise (1857)
Howard Pyle's illustration from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
How the Fairies Came to See Ogier the Dane by H.J. Ford (1921)
"And, in tones more musical than mortals often hear, she sang a sweet lullaby, a song of fairyland and of the island of Avalon, where the souls of heroes dwell."
Beatrice Clay, Morgan le Fay with Excalibur (1905)
Fata Morgana; Nude Study by John Macallan Swan (1905)
Morgana and Orlando as painted by George Frederic Watts (1865)

Therein, and in the early chivalric romances by Chrétien de Troyes and others, Morgan's chief role is that of a great healer.

- Morgan le Fay

Morgan le Fay never loses her name, but in Le Morte d'Arthur, she studies magic rather than being inherently magical.

- Chivalric romance
Yvain fighting Gawain in order to regain the love of his lady Laudine. Medieval illumination from Chrétien de Troyes's romance, Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion

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Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley

Le Morte d'Arthur

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15th-century Middle English prose reworking by Sir Thomas Malory of tales about the legendary King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table, along with their respective folklore.

15th-century Middle English prose reworking by Sir Thomas Malory of tales about the legendary King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table, along with their respective folklore.

Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley
A 14th-century Polish fresco at Siedlęcin Tower depicting Lancelot fighting the evil knight Turquine in a scene from the French Vulgate Cycle
A 14th-century "Round Table" at Winchester Castle, Malory's Camelot
The holy island of Mont-Saint-Michel where Arthur slays an evil giant in one of the only few supernatural elements of the Roman War story
"How Arthur by the mean of Merlin gat Excalibur his sword of the Lady of the Lake", illustration for Le Morte Darthur, J. M. Dent & Co., London (1893–1894), by Aubrey Beardsley
"How Sir Launcelot slew the knight Sir Peris de Forest Savage that did distress ladies, damosels, and gentlewomen." The Romance of King Arthur (1917), abridged from Malory's Morte d'Arthur by Alfred W. Pollard and illustrated by Arthur Rackham
"'Lady,' replied Sir Beaumains, 'a knight is little worth who may not bear with a damsel.'" Lancelot Speed's illustration for James Thomas Knowles' The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1912)
"The Holy Grail, covered with white silk, came into the hall." The Grail's miraculous sighting at the Round Table in William Henry Margetson's illustration for Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1914)
Arthur's final voyage to Avalon in a 1912 illustration by Florence Harrison
Arthur being taken to Avalon in Alberto Sangorski's 1912 illustration for Tennyson's poem "Morte d'Arthur"
N. C. Wyeth's title page illustration for Sidney Lanier's The Boy's King Arthur (1917)
The two volumes of illustrated edition of Le Morte Darthur published by J. M. Dent in 1893, with vellucent binding by Cedric Chivers.

In addition to the vast Vulgate Cycle in its different variants, as well as the English poems Morte Arthur and Morte Arthure, Malory's other original source texts were identified as several French standalone chivalric romances, including Erec et Enide, L'âtre périlleux, Perlesvaus, and Yvain ou le Chevalier au Lion (or its English version, Ywain and Gawain), as well as John Hardyng's English Chronicle.

It also includes the tale of Balyn and Balan (a lengthy section which Malory called a "booke" in itself), as well as other episodes such as the hunt for the Questing Beast and the treason of Arthur's sorceress half-sister Queen Morgan le Fay in the plot involving her lover Accolon.

A portrait of a fairy, by Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1869). The title of the painting is Take the Fair Face of Woman, and Gently Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers, and Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy is Made of Most Beautiful Things (purportedly taken from a poem by Charles Ede).

Fairy

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Type of mythical being or legendary creature found in the folklore of multiple European cultures (including Celtic, Slavic, Germanic, English, and French folklore), a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural, or preternatural.

Type of mythical being or legendary creature found in the folklore of multiple European cultures (including Celtic, Slavic, Germanic, English, and French folklore), a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural, or preternatural.

A portrait of a fairy, by Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1869). The title of the painting is Take the Fair Face of Woman, and Gently Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers, and Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy is Made of Most Beautiful Things (purportedly taken from a poem by Charles Ede).
A portrait of a fairy, by Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1869). The title of the painting is Take the Fair Face of Woman, and Gently Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers, and Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy is Made of Most Beautiful Things (purportedly taken from a poem by Charles Ede).
1888 illustration by Luis Ricardo Falero of common modern depiction of a fairy with butterfly wings
Title page of a 1603 reprinting of Daemonologie
Illustration of a fairy by C. E. Brock
A resin statue of a fairy
Prince Arthur and the Faerie Queene by Johann Heinrich Füssli (c. 1788); scene from The Faerie Queene
The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by Joseph Noel Paton (1849): fairies in Shakespeare
A fairy pictured in the coat of arms of Haljala Parish

Historical origins of fairies range from various traditions from Persian mythology to European folklore such as of Brythonic (Bretons, Welsh, Cornish), Gaelic (Irish, Scots, Manx), and Germanic peoples, and of Middle French medieval romances.

In the 1485 book Le Morte d'Arthur, Morgan le Fay, whose connection to the realm of Faerie is implied in her name, is a woman whose magic powers stem from study.

First page of only surviving manuscript, c. 14th century

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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First page of only surviving manuscript, c. 14th century
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (from original manuscript, artist unknown)
The legendary Irish figure Cúchulainn faced a trial similar to Gawain's (Cúchulain Slays the Hound of Culain by Stephen Reid, 1904).
Knights of Gawain's time were tested in their ability to balance the male-oriented chivalric code with the female-oriented rules of courtly love. (God Speed! – Edmund Blair Leighton 1900)
In the 15th-century Saint Wolfgang and the Devil by Michael Pacher, the Devil is green. Poetic contemporaries such as Chaucer also drew connections between the colour green and the devil, leading scholars to draw similar connections in readings of the Green Knight.
Another famous Arthurian woman, The Lady of Shalott, with a medieval girdle around her waist (John William Waterhouse, 1888)
Gawain's Shield, with the endless pentagram in gold on a red background
Gawain represented the perfect knight, as a fighter, a lover, and a religious devotee. (The Vigil by John Pettie, 1884)
Scholars have pointed out parallels between the girdle Bertilak's wife offers Gawain, and the fruit Eve offered to Adam in the Biblical Garden of Eden. (Adam and Eve Lucas Cranach, ca. 1513)
Lady Bertilak at Gawain's bed (from original manuscript, artist unknown)
Lud's Church

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century chivalric romance in Middle English.

He explains that the entire adventure was a trick of the unnamed "elderly lady" Gawain saw at the castle, who is the sorceress Morgan le Fay, Arthur's stepsister, who intended to test Arthur's knights and frighten Guinevere to death.

Tristan and Isolde (Life) by Rogelio de Egusquiza (1912)

Tristan

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Hero of the legend of Tristan and Iseult.

Hero of the legend of Tristan and Iseult.

Tristan and Isolde (Life) by Rogelio de Egusquiza (1912)
"Tristain's" attributed arms
Scenes from the story of Tristan on 13th-century tiles from Chertsey Abbey
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In the 13th century, during the great period of prose romances, Tristan en prose or Prose Tristan became one of the most popular romances of its time.

Nonetheless, Mark ends up ambushing and mortally injuring Tristram while he is harping (Tristan is noted in the book as one of the greatest of musicians and falconers), using a lance that had been given to him by the vengeful enchantress Morgan, whose lover had been slain by Tristan.