From the archive - A return to the age of chivalry

1st July 2011 at 01:00
20 October 1934 - Call for universities to set up chairs to help resurrect Arthurian values in young people

When it was suggested by Mr ACR Carter at dinner at the Knights of the Round Table Club last week that there was a need for chairs of chivalry at the universities, the idea was welcomed by the Earl of Athlone and by others who were present. Discussing his suggestion on Saturday, Mr Carter made it clear that he had a practical purpose in putting it forward.

The professor of chivalry, who Mr Carter hopefully anticipates, would be an authority on the medieval romances, acquainted with the whole literature of chivalry, but his task would be to revive in the universities, and through them in the whole country, the lost spirit of an earlier age.

Mr Carter would like to see many more people than at present made acquainted with the "Morte d'Arthur" and kindred romances, but still more to see a resurrection of the spirit that inspired them.

His professor of chivalry would not be merely a teacher in a particular branch of medieval history, nor in a given period of literature, but the inculcator of a certain vanished standard of behaviour. This revival of the knightly spirit, once established in the universities, would, as Mr Carter sees it, spread downwards to the schools with advantage to the whole society.

Mr Carter said: "I think that if the universities give their blessing to the idea, it would make the elementary schools begin to lift up their heads. William of Wykeham said that 'manners makyth man', but manners do not make the boy of today. We know how little chivalry is in the ordinary street-boy of the present time."

'From the archive' celebrates our century-long coverage of education news and views by reprinting an article from the past.

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