“She hath no loyal knight and true,

The Lady of Shalott”

Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott is an iconic poem of the Victorian era. It has inspired a vast cultural output, from Pre-Raphaelite art to Scandinavian pop music. However, it is by no means the only poem inspired by the Arthurian legend and the setting of Camelot.

Since Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte D’Arthur – the seminal Arthurian text in the English language – writers like Tennyson and Edmund Spenser have re-imagined Camelot to write allegories relevant to their times; The Lady of Shalott is just one poem in a long history of reworking the legend of King Arthur. Along with The Idylls of the King, Tennyson’s Camelot is one of the most famous.

In this event, chair Remona Aly meets with experts on the Arthurian legend, Gregory Leadbetter, Raluca Radulescu and Matthew Townend, to consider the context and significance of Tennyson’s Camelot and its continuing relevance today.

This event is run in association with The Poetry Society.

About The Speakers

Gregory Leadbetter

Gregory Leadbetter’s debut full-length poetry collection, The Fetch, was published by Nine Arches Press in October 2016. His pamphlet The Body in the Well was published by HappenStance Press in 2007 and he has published essays on Wordsworth, Keats, Charles Lamb, and Ted Hughes. In 2016 Gregory was Poet in Residence at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage for Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival. He currently teaches at Birmingham City University, where he is Reader in Literature and Creative Writing.

Raluca Radulescu

Professor Raluca Radulescu is Co-director of the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Bangor and University of Aberystwyth. She is President of the British Branch of the International Arthurian Society and Editor of the Journal of the International Arthurian Society.


Matthew Townend

Dr Matthew Townend is Reader in English at the University of York. He is especially interested in the history and heritage of the Vikings in the north of England, and in Victorian medievalism and philology. His most recent books are Viking Age Yorkshire (2014) and The Vikings and Victorian Lakeland (2009).

Photo by Ian Martindale.

About The Moderator

Remona Aly

Remona Aly is a journalist and broadcaster. She writes for The Guardian, is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought and a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Something Understood. She is also an editor and podcast host for various platforms.