Exploring Guinevere's Search for Authenticity in the Arthurian Romances: The Thousand-Year Quest of a Mythic Woman to Find Her Historical Embodiment in Film and Literature

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Rich discusses Guinevere as a mythical character who embodies a set of mythical traditions that span several centuries. Often depicted differently her legacy has yet to be fully recognized because she is overshadowed by Arthur. This book seeks to correct that problem and fill in a gap in the scholarship by providing an extensive study of the ways she has been represented from medieval times until today. Rich draws on notable scholarship like C.G. Jung’s individuation process, and Joseph Campbell’s hero journey, as she strives to uncover an authentic account of Guinevere’s story. This work explores her struggles, honors her otherworldly origins, and imagines her in an androgynous world that allows her to be her own person, marry for love, care for the earth, and tend to soul; not one into which she tries to fit, but one that she helps to shape.


“Rich’s contribution to scholarship is her study of Guinevere’s journey through the Arthurian mythic cycle as an individuation process that leads to the revelation of her hard-to-attain treasure: the totality of her Self.”

-Prof. Evans Lansing Smith,
Pacifica Graduate Institute

"Rich, in digging so deep, eventually postulates what should be the position and power of Guinevere (who represents all womanhood) as she metamorphoses into a mythological position at the Round Table. This is a thought provoking, sensual study, extremely revealing as well as useful in the many facets of current cultural trends."

-Prof. Jeannine Davis-Kimball,
Author of: Women Warriors: An Archaeologist’s Search for History’s Hidden Heroines

“The ancient Celts revered her. King Arthur married her. The Land of Logres consulted her wisdom, and Merlin said that without her the Round Table could not be. Yet Guinevere's story, in all its fullness and wisdom, has not been fairly told--until now.
Using the dual lenses of depth psychology and myth, scholar Janet Rich has thoughtfully and painstakingly reassembled the fragmented inside story of the Queen of Camelot, arguing forcibly on Her Majesty's behalf that Guinevere's true-shining but demonized nature harks back to that of Sophia, Mother Eve, and the soul of the world. Furthermore, we need Guinevere's special wisdom today if we are to repair and nurture planet and soul, both of which suffer from centuries of patriarchal disconnect and industrialized assault. For ultimately, the Queen's story is not one of vulgar betrayal or courtly shame, but, at its deepest, a call to wise renewal, an urgent summons from the throne of the Lady in White.”

-Prof. Craig Chalquist,
John F. Kennedy University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Evans Lansing Smith

Chapter 1: Introduction
Guinevere’s Emergence
Courtly Love
The Reach of Arthurian and Grail Legends
Myths Connect Us
Discussion: Approach and Methodology

Chapter 2: The Many Faces of Guinevere
Myths are Alive
Guinevere’s World
Guinevere’s Mythic Origins
Guinevere’s Myriad Faces

Chapter 3: Mythopoetic Grounding
Guinevere Serves Soul
Joseph Campbell on Myth and the Hero’s Journey
Islamic, or Arabic, Influences on Guinevere’s Journey
Sophia, Mystical Love, and Guinevere
The Heroine’s Journey
The Language of Myth
Guinevere’s Hero Journey

Chapter 4: Guinevere the Symbol
Guinevere: Female Wisdom
“The Knight with the Lion” – Guinevere’s Wasteland
“The Knight of the Cart” – Call to Adventure
Le Morte D’Arthur – Guinevere’s Trials or Ordeals
Idylls of the King – Guinevere’s Boon for Society

Chapter 5: Guinevere the Woman
Bringing Guinevere Forward in Imagination
Mythological Threads
Guineverian Romances
Emma Jung on the Myth’s Significance
Voices of Women on the Sufi Path
Guinevere Immortalized in Artwork
Simone de Beauvoir on Authenticity
Feminist Voices
Parke Godwin’s Guinevere
Guinevere’s Search for Authenticity
Reflecting on Guinevere’s Yarn

Chapter 6: Guinevere on Stages and Pages
Guinevere Moves Forward through Mass Media
Guinevere’s Mythology Evolves

Chapter 7: Moving Guinevere’s Myth Forward
Spring: A Time of Change and Renewal
Guinevere: Born into a Patriarchal World
The Psyche Sings of Guinevere
Freeing Guinevere
Looking at the Round Table
Guinevere Speaks
Guinevere Takes Her Seat at the Round Table


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