How did the (maybe) historical figure of King Arthur and his totally fictitious knights come to inspire so many stories? And why does Arthurian myth continue to flourish in films today? This witty and accessible introduction takes readers on a quest through the history of Arthurian romance in order to find the answers. Medieval expert, Derek Pearsall, traces the fortunes of Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, Gawain, Tristan, and the other knights of the round table at the hands of different writers, artists, and film-makers. He follows the evolution of Arthurian romance from the epic form into ballad, drama, elegy, satire, and burlesque, showing how the story has continued to provide a medium through which different cultures could express their highest hopes and contain their deepest fears. The book consists mainly of readings of the great works of Arthurian romance, from Chretien de Troyes through Malory to Tennyson and beyond, but also pays attention to manuscript illustrations, tapestries, paintings, and films.