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Title: Wars Among Friends: Poetry and Sovereignty in Medieval England
Authors: Klement, Leah
Advisors: Heller-Roazen, Daniel
Smith, D. Vance
Contributors: Comparative Literature Department
Keywords: civil war
Classical reception
ethics of reading
medieval romance
Subjects: Medieval literature
English literature
Classical literature
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation traces an unexamined aspect of classical reception in the literature of fourteenth-century England. In contrast to the well-known Trojan narratives that framed the English as the descendants of a Trojan refugee, the texts studied in this dissertation turn to Thebes and Rome instead of Troy, as a way of exploring the major disjunctions in English history and contesting Trojan narratives of singular descent. This alternative narrative allows writers to assess critically the foundations and extent of sovereignty in England, prompted by the rebellions and civil unrest that troubled late fourteenth-century English society. Bringing English legendary history together with classical models of domestic division, such as Lucan and Statius, these writers wonder whether and how these inheritances have come to bear on present social divisions, and also whether histories of difference and disunity might undermine sovereign authority to suppress such conflicts with violence. Further, in their attention to classical models as a pattern for ethically reading and writing about violence, these texts represent an unexpectedly early humanistic approach to questions of governance in later medieval England.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Comparative Literature

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