Movie Review: Tristan and Isolde

Tristan and Isolde, starring James Franco and Sophia Myles.

As far as medieval movies go, Tristan and Isolde definitely isn’t the worst I’ve seen. I was looking for a movie to watch after work, and I thought, hey, James Franco, Sophia Moyles, Henry Cavill, and Rufus Sewell, all directed by Ridley Scott?! – this can’t be that bad. Well, it was pretty bad, but it wasn’t the worst 2 hours of my life. So what went wrong?

Magna Carta Conference Offers New Insights Into The 800-year-old Document

British Library's Magna Carta, photo credit Joseph Turp

Magna Carta just celebrated its 800th birthday this past Monday. In honour of this incredible milestone, King’s College London, and the Magna Carta Project, hosted a 3 day conference dedicated to this historic document.

Genre Medievalisms: Geek Goes Chic!

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in HBO's, 'Game of Thrones'. Photo courtesy of blastr.com (TV Guide)

Is Cersei a collection of bad medieval stereotypes? Have nerds gone mainstream? Were American cowboys a modern retelling of the medieval knight? Put down that comic, put away your bag of dice, and indulge your inner nerd.

Late Medieval Knight Reflecting on his Public Life: Hugo de Urriés (c. 1405-c. 1493), Diplomacy and Translating the Classics

Sepulchre of Hugo de Urriés (1420-1443) - at Huesca Cathedral. By Gothic sculptor, Pere Johan

This article focuses on Aragonese courtier Hugo de Urriés’s public profile by means of analyzing the critical points derived from examining his personal, political, cultural and historical stands making use of an invaluable primary source, his letter to Fernando the Catholic in the early 1490s.

Knighthood in Le Morte D’Arthur: Recapitulation of Development of Medieval Chivalric Literature

Chaucer’s Knyght - knights

Undoubtedly chivalry belongs among the most influential phenomena in medieval Europe. Since its emergence in the eleventh century chivalry with its concept of knighthood is adopted by various European countries in the era as one of the principal codes applied not only in military campaigns but also in the sphere of morality as well as the social stratification of the monarchies.

Nicolette : action transvestite, or, who and what is the heroine of Aucassin et Nicolette?

Aucassin and Nicolette, 19th-century oil-on-canvas by Marianne Stokes

In this paper, I will show how Nicolette is constantly, deliberately, changing, in appearance and identity, from the beginning of the story, and how she is thus Izzard’s action transvestite.

Medieval Misogyny and Gawain’s Outburst against Women in “‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - from original manuscript, date unknown.

The view has been gaining ground of late that the Gawain of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a knight renowned as ‘Pat fyne fader of nurture’ (1. 919) and as ‘so cortays and coynt’ of his ‘hetes’ (1. I525), degenerates at the moment of leave-taking from the Green Knight, his erstwhile host, to the level of a churl capable of abusing the ladies of that knight’s household (11.2411 -28).

Caught in Love’s Grip: Passion and Moral Agency in French Courtly Romance

The art of courtly love

French royal courts in the late twelfth century were absolutely smitten with love. Troubadaours traveled from place to place reciting stories of knights and the ladies they wooed.

A Kiss Is Just a Kiss: Heterosexuality and Its Consolations in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Tolkien

The famous line from that modern romance- “A kiss is just a kiss”- is the message the Gawain-poet gave his listeners six centuries ago.

Parzival, the perfect Medieval hero?

Parzival

When we now think of knights, we automatically think of knights in shining armours, saving damsels in distress while killing dragons and other mythical creatures. But is this image we have of these heroes correct? Was the Medieval hero really just a tough guy who saved beautiful ladies and killed the ´bad guys´. In this paper I will try to give a standard description of what a Medieval hero really was. After which I will try to determine if Parzival really was a medieval hero, compared to the standards that I have tried to set.

Cheating and Cheaters in German Romance and Epic, 1180 – 1225

Sex medieval

An Alsatian poet named Heinrich, writing around 1180, composed a beast epic, based on French sources, about a trickster fox named Reinhart. Some sixty years later, a poet known to us only as Der Stricker composed a work of similar length and structure, about a trickster priest named Amis, and his diligent efforts to cheat various anonymous individuals out of their money.

Chaucer’s reading list: Sir Thopas, Auchinleck, and Middle English romances in translation

Geneviève Receiving King Mark’s Letter, by the Master of the Vienna Mamerot. Romance of Tristan; France, Bourges? dated 1468. Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M.41, f. 24v (detail).

One frustration of engaging in any branch of European medieval studies as an academic pursuit is that few claim expertise about the ancient or Roman worlds, but seemingly everyone on an internet discussion forum believes him or herself knowledgeable about the medieval period, usually based on patently false beliefs.

The Crown in the Nibelungenlied

Nibelungenlied

Among the many unsolved problems which continue to exercise the mind of the student of the the one receiving directly Nibelunmgenlied, and indirectly the greatest attention today is that of the positiontaken by the Nibelungenlied in relation to the other poetical works of the period in which it was given its final form.

“The Taint of a Fault”: Purgatory, Relativism and Humanism in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain & the Green Knight

“The Taint of a Fault”: Purgatory, Relativism and Humanism in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Bill Phillips Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses, No. 17 (2004) Abstract Far from being a poem about the chivalric code, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is essentially concerned with religion. The Romance genre is used to reveal the shortcomings […]

Transvestite Knights: Men and Women Cross-dressing in Medieval Literature

knights

In this thesis, I will look at mainly French and German texts from the 12th to the 15th centuries which deal with the subject of cross-dressers in the decidedly masculine domain of the knight. There are many tales of cross-dressing, particularly of women, but the concept of men dressing as women while jousting, and women dressing as knights, brings up several questions about the clothes, what it meant to be male and female, and how cross-dressing could be viewed on the tournament field.

Time, consciousness and narrative play in late Medieval secular dream poetry and framed narratives

The Romance of the Rose

This thesis proposes to look at the equation between time and text in the later medieval period. Time-telling and tale-telling have a particularly dynamic relationship in the considers time-telling and temporal referencein an era (c.1230 – 1500) that time-measurement multiple cultural experiencesa greatvariety of types of and
attitudes to time.

Bodies, Saracen giants, and the medieval romance : transgression, difference, and assimilation

Knight fighting a monster

Bodies, Saracen Giants, and the Medieval Romance: Transgression, Difference, and Assimilation explores the treatment of the bodies of three Saracen giants in the romances of Roland and Vernagu (c. 1330), Sir Beues of Hamtoun (c. 1330), and The Taill of Rauf Coilyear (c. 1513-42)

Interpreting Warfare and Knighthood in Late Medieval France: Writers and Their Sources in the Reign of King Charles VI (1380-1422)

Hundred Years War

Romances provided the basis of a particular kind of view of knighthood and warfare that was very influential on other literature concerning knights and warfare, as much as it was on real life practices and attitudes.

Traditions of Courtly Love and the Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer reading his poems to the court of Richard II Frontispiece to "Troilus & Criseyde", c. 1400

Chaucer uses both common and courtly love in the Canterbury Tales. His pilgrims represent nearly every level of the social scale and range anywhere from a knight to a miller to a parson to a pardoner. Thererfore, their status will determine what kind of tale they will tell.

Mi Suete Leuedi, Her Mi Béne: The Power and Patronage of the Heroine in Middle English Romance

Medieval Arthurian Romance

The Middle English Romances are somewhat difficult to study as a group. In order to examine these works accurately, one must take into consideration other literature produced at the same tirne, as well as that which preceded it.

Oh, for Shame: Public Perception and Punishment in Chretien’s Cliges

Cliges

To develop this argument, a basic understanding of medieval society’s con­ventions is necessary in order to outline the parameters of this honor/shame cul­ture.

Looking Back: Medieval French Romance and the Dynamics of Seeing

The Romance of the Rose

This dissertation builds upon the work of feminist medievalists and other literary and cultural scholars to argue that sight, and objects that are seen, articulate love relationships between characters in medieval romances, and that seeing is frequently a locus of resistance to gender norms the texts both establish and refuse to accept.

How to be a Man, Though Female: Changing Sex in Medieval Romance

Mutacion de Fortune - Christine de Pizan

Gender participates in a series of taxonomies that structure the social order, and it therefore participates in processes beyond itself, such as Christianity and knighthood, which are equally about identity within the world of chivalric romance. Therefore, the inscription of one often helps to define the other.

Monstrous transformations: loyalty and community in four medieval poems

medieval Werewolf

I will examine two forms of transformation, the werewolf transformation and the monstrous human transformation, both of which feature shape shifters who presumably cannot be trusted

The True Characters of Criseyde and of Diomede in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde: A Restoration of the Reputations of Two Misunderstood Characters Unjustly Maligned in Literary Criticism

Troilus & Criseyde 3

This is a defence of the characters of Criseyde and of Diomede based, inter alia, on a close textual analysis.

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