Textual Transformations and the Challenges of Self-Narration in Bevis of Hampton and Guy of Warwick

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Haniford, Alicia Louise




This thesis studies the narrative challenges presented to individual subjectivity over time in two Middle English romances, Bevis of Hampton and Guy of Warwick. These long, episodic texts put pressure on the social, cultural, national, religious, and personal identities of their heroes, testing their capacity and willingness to perform the personal memory work necessary to maintain a coherent identity over time. Combining an historicist interest in medieval models of autobiographical memory with New Philological attention to the social and cultural implications of manuscript variance, I argue that the variation in the manuscript traditions of Bevis and Guy points to a persistent textual interest in the portrayal of romance heroes as engaged in the critical cognitive work of personal reflection and subjective cohesion. This was a particularly important function in relation to the capacity of these texts to provide moral and spiritual models of Christian selfhood for both knights and laypeople.


Literature - Medieval




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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