Celebrate Yule with a reading, or re-reading, of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. (The link at the title is a fairly good “modern translation” of the Middle English.) My student’s statement came from a description of Gawain, early in a paper on heroism in the poem.
She is not the only student who thinks the King’s name is Author—I’ve had at least a dozen. Why is that? We don’t live in a country or region where “Arthur” and “Author” sound similar. (Perhaps in England they do, but we don’t live there; in some parts of New York City they might, but please, we’re in Connecticut up here. Anyway, Brooklynites surely make a distinction between Aaahthuh, the King, and awwwtheh, the guy who writes, and I believe the Brits make a similar distinction.) No, in Connecticut he’s Arther and the writer is an awther; in some towns, where some of the inhabitants are evidently descendants of pirates, he might even be Arrrrr-thr.
So I don’t know why the King of Camelot is named, by students, Creator-of-literary-works, Writer, Originator. One might speculate that the Round Table was his creation and so Originator might be figuring in the students’ thinking; but I haven’t heard anyone in the rising generation refer to a father, for instance, as “author of my being” (as I occasionally used to do back in my pretentious precocious teens), and so I doubt that “author” retains that figurative connection with the creation of something other than books.
Well, be that as it may. I began this post with the word “Celebrate,” and I’d like to use the rest of this space to celebrate the many of my friends and acquaintances who are, in fact, Authors—poets, fiction writers, historians, essayists, playwrights, letter-writers, witty or lyrical bloggers. Royalty, all. In the country of the mind, let the author be prince (which, as we all know, Queen Elizabeth I used as a unisex term). Hail to the Author. Long live the Author! (And may your nephews and nieces thrive.)