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Essays in popular romance

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.

Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

imbalance of power relations, or gender roles, is at the heart of the iconographic representations. If seals are reflective of aristocratic culture, they are representative of the aristocratic symbolic ordering of the world. The symbolism on high-status noblewomen’s seals reflects ambiguity, status, gender, lordship, culture, sexuality through dress codes, and so on, and thus confirm that symbols are multivocal, ambiguous and varied. The representational forms of noblewomen’s seals symbolised noblewomen’s cultural identities and served to endorse gendered norms of women

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Le Bone Florence of Rome and bourgeois self-making
Felicity Riddy

particular value on the heroine’s virginity and at the same time is unusually attentive to the body. These things are, as I shall show, related. To take virginity first: we must bear in mind that there was more than one late-medieval discourse of virginity.19 On the one hand, virginity was represented as a sacred vocation that was placed highest in the triad virginity-widowhood-marriage. This way of categorising female sexuality had been a commonplace of Christian thought since the fourth century. Religious virginity – the virginity of those who had committed themselves to

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
The lump-child and its parents in The King of Tars
Jane Gilbert

particular, provide an analytical tool for understanding the complex construction of and the anxieties about paternity which ring through these medieval texts.15 Like many medieval works, they pose the question which, according to Lacan, is the great question of MUP_McDonald_06_Ch5 106 11/20/03, 14:24 The King of Tars 107 16 Freudian psychoanalysis: ‘what does it mean to be a father?’ For Lacan, the distinctive paternal task is above all a matter of rendering humans distinct from animals, especially by regulating sexuality: The primordial Law is … that which in

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Open Access (free)
Troubling race, ethnicity, and masculinity in Beowulf
Catalin Taranu

with Grendel's mother and then in the Grendelkin's broader connection to tensions between Anglo-Saxons and indigenous Britons and, later, the Danes. Gender, race, and ethnicity are too intimately entwined to focus on any one of these aspects in isolation, for as Geraldine Heng remarks, ‘the ability of racial logic to stalk and merge with other hierarchical systems – such as class, gender, or sexuality’ allows race to function as class, ‘ethnicity’, religion, or sexuality. 3 In the following, I fix

in Dating Beowulf
Open Access (free)
Daniel C. Remein
Erica Weaver

epistemological dubiousness and a partial, fragmentary, or otherwise incomplete intimacy that may resist normative modes of historiography, desire, and sexuality. Dinshaw's queer historian, we recall, may be a queer historiographical fetishist who is ‘decidedly not nostalgic for wholeness and unity’ and yet ‘nonetheless desires an affective, even tactile relation to the past such as a relic provides’. 59 If the touch imbues the historiographical act with latent intimacies, positing a queer fetish as its object multiplies their

in Dating Beowulf
Open Access (free)
Donna Beth Ellard

that reach for a life of happiness and belonging even though these aspirational stories carry the weight of institutions such as marriage and family life that fail their heroes; desires that contradict formulaic notions of love, friendship, or sexuality; and the inequalities of gender and race. With respect to my own life, the medical narratives into which Carmela and Mary Ellard were placed – narratives for which I am extraordinarily grateful because they saved my daughters’ lives – are aspirational stories that fit into Berlant's assessment of American intimacy

in Dating Beowulf
Open Access (free)
Nicola McDonald

sometimes accommodated, but it is never repressed. And it is with this in mind that I want to return for a moment to the anxieties that exercised romance’s early detractors: popular romance, put simply, is a dangerous recreation. Despite the gulf that inevitably separates us from these medieval narratives, they retain the power to shock us, to unsettle our assumptions about, among other things, gender and sexuality, race, religion, MUP_McDonald_01_Intro 16 11/18/03, 16:56 A polemical introduction 17 political formations, social class, ethics, morality and aesthetic

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Alcuin Blamires

. Mills, lines 16–17) invoke clerical arguments that devils ‘have to steal’ men’s nature (i.e. semen) from humans ‘because they are themselves incapable of generation’; Sinful Knights, p. 165, also pp. 166–7. The lines do not seem capable of this technical construction. Rather, the suggestion is that immaterial fiends can only achieve human bodily form by ‘taking’ or assuming humankind through a woman: it is a parody of the doctrine of God taking human kynde through Mary. Dyan Elliott, Fallen Bodies: Pollution, Sexuality, and Demonology in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Open Access (free)
Coding same-sex union in Amis and Amiloun
Sheila Delany

hero, who has clearly proved himself to be a hero even if he does not survive the conflict.’ Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton, 1957), p. 187. Francis Bar, ‘Raoul le Tourtier et la chanson de geste d’Ami et Amile’, in La Chanson de geste et le mythe Carolingien. Mélanges René Louis, 2 vols (Vézelay, 1982), vol. 1, pp. 973–86. See Simon Gaunt, ‘Straight minds / ‘Queer’ wishes in Old French hagiography: La Vie de Sainte Euphrosine’, in Louise Fradenburg and Carla Freccero (eds), Premodern Sexualities (New York, 1996); also see Allen J. Frantzen

in Pulp fictions of medieval England