Guinevere, the Superwoman of Contemporary Arthurian Fiction

  • James Noble


This essay explores efforts by Sharan Newman, Persia Woolley, and Rosalind Miles, authors of three Guinevere trilogies published between 1981 and 2001, to transform Guinevere from a peripheral into a central figure in the Arthurian legend by depicting her as a psychologically complex figure who is sufficiently accomplished in all areas of her life to qualify, in Elisabeth Brewer's terms, as a "superwoman." The emphasis devoted in these revisionist texts to Guinevere's role as mother not only of either biological or adopted children but also of the land over which she and Arthur jointly rule marks a significant departure from patriarchal versions of the Arthurian legend and invites comparison with what Marion Zimmer Bradley may have been attempting to accomplish in her enigmatic characterization of Gwenhwyfar in the fourth and final section of The Mists of Avalon.
How to Cite
Noble, J. (2006). Guinevere, the Superwoman of Contemporary Arthurian Fiction. Florilegium, 23(2), 197 - 210. Retrieved from