This dissertation is a project that examines the way Middle English romances explore and build a sense of national English/Christian identity, both in opposition to and in incorporation of the Saracen Other. The major primary texts used in this project are Richard Coer de Lion, Firumbras, Bevis of Hampton, The King of Tars, and Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur. I examine the way crusade romances grapple with the threat of the Middle East and the contention over the Holy Land and treat these romances, in part, as medieval meditations on how the Holy Land (lost during a string of failed or stalemated Crusades) could be won permanently, through war, consumption, or conversion. The literary cannibalism of Saracens in Richard Coer de Lion, the singular or wholesale religious conversions facilitated by female characters, and the figure of Malory’s Palomides all shed light on the medieval English politics of identity: specifically, what it means to be a good Englishman, a good knight, and a good Christian. Drawing on the works of Homi Bhabha, Geraldine Heng, Suzanne Conklin Akbari, and Siobhain Bly Calkin, this project fits into the overall conversation that contemplates medieval texts through the lens of postcolonial theory to locate early ideas of empire.
|Commitee:||Bobo, Elizabeth, Healy, Christopher, Vaught, Jennifer, Wright, Monica|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Medieval literature, Romance literature, Religious history|
|Keywords:||Crusades, Medieval studies and postcolonialism, Richard Coer de Lion, Saracen women, Saracens, Saracens in Arthurian literature|
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