Democratizing Camelot: Yankees in King Arthur’s Court

  • Susan Aronstein
Part of the Studies in Arthurian and Courtly Cultures book series (SACC)


The Fisher King, in its presentation of the Arthurian past as the repository of forgotten and essential truths and its portrayal of a reluctant subject who must learn to accept his identity as a knight, participates in the tradition of The Knights of the Round Table, Camelot, and the Indiana Jones trilogy. In its chronicle of the confrontation between the American present of Jack Lucas’s New York City and the medieval past of Parry’s band, it also nods to another Hollywood tradition, the series of films based on Mark Twain’s 1889 novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. However, while the Connecticut Yankee cycle typically depicts the Middle Ages as the superstitious, hierarchical, and barbaric other to a rational, democratic, and technological present, The Fisher King reverses the terms of this medieval/modern binary, valorizing the medieval past over the barren present to present a pointed critique of America and its values—a stark contrast to the Connecticut Yankee films’ (with the exception of 2001’s Black Knight) use of the dichotomy between past and present to affirm Yankee values and present America as the best of all possible societies.


Round Table Mountain Bike Lunar Rover Baseball Team Love Song 
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© Susan Aronstein 2005

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  • Susan Aronstein

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