Get Arthurian Narrative in the Latin Tradition (Cambridge PDF


By Siân Echard

This publication takes a distinct examine the Latin Arthurian culture, putting authors similar to Geoffrey of Monmouth within the context of Latin histories, monastic chronicles, saints' lives, and different Latin prose Arthurian narratives. putting them opposed to a historical past of the Angevin courtroom of Henry II, the ebook introduces a brand new set of texts into the Arthurian canon and indicates how to comprehend their position in that culture.

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Additional resources for Arthurian Narrative in the Latin Tradition (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature)

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It is not Geoffrey's creation of (fictive) stories which is subversive, although he does create incident rather more gleefully and thoroughly than do his contemporaries. It is the implication of his stories, what Hayden White would call their underlying mythoi, 19 which sets Geoffrey apart. White has suggested that historical narrative "tells us in what direction to think about the events and charges our thoughts about the events with different emotional valences";20 I will argue that Geoffrey sets his audience's thoughts in unaccustomed and alarming directions.

I have two replies. The first is that, for most of the texts in this study, such integration cannot happen until the texts come to be better known than they now are. Second, there is a certain consistency imposed by the Latin language, because of the context in which it tended to be learned and employed. Intellectuals had national affiliations, certainly, but the common characteristics of their education can be traced in their employment of their lingua franca. We return then to the discussion of the characteristics of court language above, as well as to the general sense of the ludic possibilities of Latin, possibilities which have not always been explored because of Latin's perceived status as the tongue of the Fathers.

F o r White's discussion of the process b y which historical fact is turned into narrative, see his Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism (Baltimore, M d : Johns H o p k i n s , 1978); especially "Interpretation in H i s t o r y , " p p . 5 1 - 8 0 ; and " T h e Historical Text as Literary Artifact," p p . 8 1 - 1 0 0 . White, " T h e Historical Text," p . 9 1 . "21 Geoffrey is, I think, far less certain of the status of the past than many of his contemporaries, and consequently, the playfulness of the narrative space he creates gives way to a destruction of narrative and historical certainties which approaches the nihilistic.

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