Abstract

William Byron Forbush founded The Queens of Avalon in 1894 as a parallel organization to his Knights of the Round Table, to construct courtly ladies worthy of his chivalric knights. This essay examines the group's interpretation of Arthurian legend, founding principles, rituals and material culture in the context of Forbush's own anxieties about 'modern' girls and larger early-twentieth-century discussions of the 'girl problem.' For Forbush, the Queens of Avalon was the perfect 'antidote' to this problem as it returned girls to an idealized medieval past to teach them to perform their 'role in modern chivalry': inspiring and refining knights.

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