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Title:Redemptive fictions: The contexts of outlawry in medieval English chronicle and romance
Author(s):Jones, Timothy Scott
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Friedman, John Block
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Medieval
Literature, English
Abstract:This study seeks to expand our perspective of the medieval outlaw narrative by acknowledging a common tradition of such stories, as previous scholarship has indicated, but more so by investigating the variety of literary contexts created to encompass these narratives.
I begin by delineating common perspectives on outlawry in medieval England. These include not only the definition of outlawry in law and legal practice, but also the metaphorical association of the outlaw with wolves and the offspring of Cain. By examining a variety of legal, historical and literary texts, this chapter creates a picture of the common outlaw as a figure more at home with wild beasts than human company.
With the second chapter, my attention turns to the heroic outlaws, beginning with Godwin, Earl of Wessex. After tracing the reputation of this nobleman through two centuries of the literature of church and court, I conclude with an analysis of the Vita Edwardi Regis. Notably, this text employs the patristic interpretation of David's flight from Saul in order to identify Godwin, despite his outlawry, as an heroic and loyal supporter of King Edward the Confessor.
The third chapter, a look at the life and legends of Hereward Leofricsson, a Saxon nobleman who resisted the Normans in the fens of Ely and forests of Lincolnshire, argues that the subtext of Norse tradition in this narrative suggests both an under-appreciated dimension of medieval English literary culture, and the ability of this tradition to lend moral authority to an ambiguous figure.
The fourteenth-century Anglo-Norman romance Fouke le Fitz Waryn redefines the outlawry of a minor nobleman of the Welsh border by appropriating the native Welsh legend of Brutus in order to defend the hero's rebellion, his family's right to a piece of property on the Welsh marches, and Norman manifest destiny in the British isles.
From these historically based works, chapter five turns to the question of romance and the ability of this genre to incorporate and organize outlaw narratives. This chapter outlines the structural similarities of romance and outlaw narratives and considers the implications of these similarities for reading the story of Tristan and Isolde, notably its expression in the Middle English Sir Tristrem and Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Jones, Timothy Scott
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9416381
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9416381

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