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This strange mixture of conscience and egotism : Sir Launfal and the story of courtly romance

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This strange mixture of conscience and egotism : Sir Launfal and the story of courtly romance

Yagod, Jeffrey (1993) This strange mixture of conscience and egotism : Sir Launfal and the story of courtly romance. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis is an attempt to explain the popularity of medieval courtly romance, which was in my view not simply a prototypical and highly influential species of Western popular culture, but also a considerable force in Western Europe's evolution towards a liberal society in which there can be such a thing as "popular" culture, as we currently understand the term. As this thesis argues, the fundamental strategy of courtly romance (which, by inductive implication, can thus be accounted the reasons for the genre's success) is to situate the desires and means thereto of its characters on a moral, yet attainable, is middle ground--or "mainstream," thinking of this term in all its ethical and cultural connotations--between sinfulness and saintliness. This chivalric or courtly morality--part conscientious ideal and part egotistic ideology--seeks not to deny desire but simply to regulate and civilize it, resulting in tales accessible to an audience much wider than simply armed, male warriors. My reading of courtly romance begins with Sir Launfal, Thomas Chestre's Middle English verse narrative of the late fourteenth century, an "uncourtly" specimen of the genre well suited to pique and charm the tastes of twentieth century readers. Following this, my study shifts to the twelfth century, Old French romanciers--Chretien and Marie in particular--who more or less invented the genre. At end, I briefly examine how courtly romance, with especial reference to the realistic and parodic aspects of Sir Launfal, contained within it the seeds of the modern European novel.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Yagod, Jeffrey
Pagination:vi, 148 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:English
Date:1993
ID Code:6090
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:03 Sep 2009 09:48
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:49
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