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Lancelot & King Arthur Romance Provokes Anti-Gay Reviews

Lancelot & King Arthur Romance Provokes Anti-Gay Reviews

 

An author who dared to recast the relationship between King Arthur and Sir Lancelot as a romantic one has suffered anti-gay abuse, both in Amazon.com reviews and email messages.

Author Sarah Luddington wrote the The Knights of Camelot series to explore what she says is a relationship that is hinted at in source material for the Arthurian legends, such as in works by Mallory and the romantic poetry of Chretien de Troyes, but one that had not been explored much in contemporary literature.

When the first book in the series, Lancelot and the Wolf, was released on Amazon’s Kindle in June of 2011 the book received modest, and even glowing, praise.  However, Luddington’s UK publisher Mirador recently became concerned about a growing number of one-star reviews on the ebook retailer site Amazon.com. An investigation was launched by Amazon because many of the one-star reviews had a very similar tone–an anti-gay one.

Despite the book’s description including the fact that the series explores a romantic relationship between Arthur and Lancelot, one reviewer opined, “I had no idea this was some sexually twisted tale about King Arthur. I have read almost all the the early records and literature on King Arthur and I have never come across anything that insinuated that he was GAY, so pardon me if I assumed this was going to be a normal continuation of the story … YUCK, thanks for ruining a beautiful story that I grew up with and turning it into something sordid.”

Another groused, “I didn’t know that this was a perverted story of Arthur and Lancelot. If I had known, I would have skipped it and read something else. [...] Just sad to have ruined one of the greatest legends of all times.”

Other reviews said the book had “tainted” the legend and used similar anti-gay references in their complaints. These reviews, at least half-a-dozen of which are still present on the Amazon.com site, appear to have all been published within a six-week period, and many of them toward the end of July. Luddington has also told the press that both she and her publisher have received similar email messages berating them for apparently ruining the legend.

Luddington is quoted as saying, “Initially I was [only] surprised by the venom directed toward my books. But as it went on I found it became quite distressing. It seems one can write about pretty much anything these days but to infer that King Arthur and Lancelot were lovers is tantamount to flag burning.”

While Amazon has assured Luddington that it will work to ensure that all reviews comply with Amazon’s commenting policies, Luddington seems to have found a way to spin a positive action out of this situation.

A note on the series’ website tells that Luddington is releasing a special edition of Lancelot and the Wolf with proceeds going to the UK gay rights group Stonewall:

For those who are interested, I am an advocate of Gay Rights and this Special Edition of Lancelot and the Wolf, which you can find in all good ebook stores, is being sold to help Stonewall, to whom I am donating all of my royalties from this edition. They are a charity who support the rights of gay people all over the world. Please help by going to your preferred ebook retailer and downloading a copy, it isn’t expensive, but it will make a difference.

Luddington’s website lists a further six titles in the series, so clearly the author has found a welcoming audience for her books.

 

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Image used under the Creative Commons attribution license with thanks to goXunuReviews.

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61 comments

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8:36AM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

I plan to read it now and thank you for putting a twist on an old favorite. People are so petty. Keep writing!

5:39PM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

It's fiction, for crying out loud! [g]od help us. Peace

12:14PM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

in our mother's eye!

It doesn't matter what people want to see...since when do our personal liberties and freedoms consist of being allowed to dictate to author's what to write and HOW to write it...?!?

12:12PM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

(The armor and weapons of a prince were important symbols of his power and status.) If 1 Samuel 18:1-4 were about Jonathan’s first encounter with a woman, theologians everywhere would be writing about this as one of the greatest love stories of all time. The story of Jonathan and his love would be the source of dozens of Hollywood films. But because the object of Jonathan’s affection is a man, our cultural prejudice kicks in and we insist (notwithstanding the biblical evidence) that this could not have been more than deep friendship. If that is STILL not enough to convince you...David left his parent's home and moved to Saul's where he would be with Jonathan. This is a strong indication that the relationship was extremely close. It echoes the passage marriage passage in Genesis 2:24: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." ((AND)) Though it doesn't actually say that David and Jonathan had a sexual relationship one can assume this based on historical prinicipal...since people in those days did not wear underwear, and Jonathan stripped himself naked in front of David. That would be considered extremely unusual behavior (then and now) unless their relationship was sexual in nature.

It would appear that people do not want to recognize a modicum of truth that perhaps gays and lesbians have been thriving in relationships since long before any of US were ever more than a tinkle in our moth

12:11PM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

It appears from my current research that the Nazi's only left Germany to take control of the U.S.A. (google paperclip project). Or email me and I can give you a GREAT source on all things corrupt in our country including this subject!! What's to say that there is NOT some truth behind the King Arthur and Lancelot story?!! Just like that of the story in the bible of Johnathan and his lover. It's clear (despite the religious criticism) that their relationship was anything BUT platonic. If you read straight from the bible and then google original meanings in Hebrew of select phrases that raises eyebrows....


Exhibit A:
“When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.” (1 Samuel 18:1-4)
Now, imagine if this story had been about Jonathan and a woman. Suppose the author had written that “Jonathan’s soul was bound to Mirriam, and Jonathan loved her as his own soul.” And suppose that upon meeting Mirriam for the first time, Jonathan immediately gave her all his most precious possessions. (The armor and weapons of a prince were important symbols of his power and status.) If

8:29PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Thanks! I'll be downloading the book. I'd have never known about it without Care2.

12:04PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Thanks Steve for this interesting article. I will most certainly be checking these books out of my local library.

6:25AM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Who cares really?

5:41AM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

I remember when I first heard that Batman and Robin were being accused of being homosexuals -- I thought it was clearly ridiculous, but now I wonder; it would add an interesting dimension to the story.

The best book I ever read about homosexual humans was "The Front Runner." If you want to have feelings for gay people and not just be intellectually accepting of them, read this book.

I know a number of men who are best friends (in pairs) and spend most of their time together, yet they are so neurotic, whining, bickering, and annoying, that I wonder if they are repressed homosexuals; if they are and they accepted it and lived it, they'd be a lot happier and nicer to be around, I imagine.

5:08AM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

This is one of the classic love stories. If you don't like it don't read it! So what are we going to do now? Burn books like the nazi's? Do we really want to be like Germany when the nazis took over?

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