NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia

International Arthurian Society

Founded in 1949, this society comprises some 1,000 individual members and 300 institutional subscribers over the globe, but mainly concentrated in western Europe and North America, with eleven branches in all. Its goal is to further Arthurian studies by enabling scholars and enthusiasts to meet and learn of each others’ activities. It is organized into national congress, which is the ultimate governing body.

The founding of the society is generally attributed to Eugène Vinaver, though credit must also be given to Jean Frappier and Roger Sherman Loomis for its growth after the Second World War. Vinaver himself attributed the conception to a physician, Dr. Hambly Rowe, who suggested in the late 1920s that Arthurian scholars should meet in Cornwall.

The First International Congress was in fact held in Truro, Cornwall, in 1930, and at that time was sponsored by the embryonic Arthurian Society of Oxford, which Vinaver had initiated in 1928. The latter was rechristened the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature, and its publication, Arthuriana (1929-30), was renamed Medium Aevum. The Second International Congress, planned for 1932, was not realized until 1948, at Quimper, where the members launched the Bulletin Bibliographique de la Société Internationale Arthurienne.