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2 The twin demons of aristocratic society in Sir Gowther Alcuin Blamires Sir Gowther is a 700-line narrative probably originating (in its Middle English form) about 1400 in the North Midlands. It is extant in two mildly divergent manuscript texts, which will here be referred to as the ‘Advocates’ and ‘Royal’ versions.1 Sir Gowther is conspicuous for that surface crankiness and drastic speed which are often found in medieval English verse romances and which readily provoke a modern reader’s suspicion that no very challenging contact with medieval society is being

in Pulp fictions of medieval England

This is a study of noblewomen in twelfth-century England and Normandy, and of the ways in which they exercised power. It draws on a mix of evidence to offer a reconceptualization of women's role in aristocratic society, and in doing so suggests new ways of looking at lordship and the ruling elite in the high Middle Ages. The book considers a wide range of literary sources—such as chronicles, charters, seals and governmental records—to draw out a detailed picture of noblewomen in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm. It asserts the importance of the life-cycle in determining the power of these aristocratic women, thereby demonstrating that the influence of gender on lordship was profound, complex and varied.

Essays in popular romance
Editor: Nicola McDonald

This collection and the romances it investigates are crucial to our understanding of the aesthetics of medieval narrative and to the ideologies of gender and sexuality, race, religion, political formations, social class, ethics, morality and national identity with which those narratives emerge.

organized, and the lower rungs of these ladders may have reached or penetrated the realms both of non-aristocratic society, and of vernacular speech. Highland Perthshire provides evidence for the mediating role of itinerants such as chapmen (pacairean), and the minstrel bands known as Cliar Sheanchain, ‘as literary receptors and disseminators, operating between the spheres of high and popular culture, and across social classes’.11 Such brief contextualization may begin to explain the relevance of an analysis of a written genre to a book about the spoken word. The bond

in The spoken word
Open Access (free)

degender, it facilitated the participation of women. The basis of Hawise’s power was of course her marital status: as the wife of the earl of Gloucester, Hawise’s social status at the pinnacle of aristocratic society was assured. This explains the frequency of her attestations and her place above her husband’s noble followers usually as head of the secular witnesses to his charters. A model of female witnessing existed in the royal household, where queenly witnessing was well established, and perhaps Earl William, who was styled consul in his acta, a title which

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm