Looking beyond Guinevere : depictions of women in Chrétien de Troyes’ Arthurian romances, the cult of saints, and religious texts of the twelfth century
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This thesis provides a reading of Chrétien de Troyes’ Arthurian romances that reflects the cultural and intellectual context of twelfth-century Christianity. The impact of this context on Chrétien’s romances is examined by identifying the influence that contemporaneous biblical expository texts, hagiography, and the material culture of the cult of saints had upon his work. Although scholars have devoted much attention to the study of Chrétien’s romances, and some have examined the potential influences of various medieval Christian beliefs, practices, and symbols on his work, none have yet to produce a thorough study of these elements while focusing specifically on the female characters. Scholars have identified the influence of the cult of saints on the depiction of Guinevere in The Knight of the Cart, but have not examined this influence on the depictions of the ladies in the other four romances in detail. I look beyond Guinevere, examining all of the female protagonists in the Arthurian romances, comparing their attributes and actions to those of biblical women in contemporaneous biblical exposition and those of saints in hagiography. At the heart of this comparison is the relationship between the lady and her knight, a relationship that is described in similar terms to that between a biblical woman and God and that between saint and devotee.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationalhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Embargo Date: 2022-11-01
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 1st November 2022
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