The Vulnerable Body of Havelok the Dane

The Vulnerable Body of Havelok the Dane

Crawford, Donna

Medieval Forum Vol. 1 (2002)


The Middle English verse romance Havelok the Dane provides a complex evocation of the construction of English national identity. By the narrative’s end, the transformation of the Danish Havelok into an English king makes clear that national identity is malleable rather than fixed. One of the factors enabling this malleability is the poem’s representation of different figures of the human body. This article examines how Havelok the Dane manifests the power relations that structure metaphorical inscriptions, such as the body politic, by representing the vulnerability of the individual body.

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