Missionaries and Crusaders in Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur

Missionaries and Crusaders in Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur

Ropa, Anastasija (Bangor University)

Presented at IMC (2010)


The aim of my paper is to examine the themes of crusading and missionary activities in Sir Thomas Malory’s romance Morte Darthur in the context of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. The principal objective of the paper is to determine whether Malory’s representation of crusading in one of the Morte parts, Tale of the Sankgreal, would have corresponded to the expectations of his intended/real audience.

In defining Malory’s intended/real audience, I am relying on the studies of Felicity Riddy, Prof. Peter Field, and Dr. Raluca Radulescu. They agree that, facilitated by several printed editions, the Morte would have been read by the nobility, gentry, and wealthy urban merchants. Malory himself was member of the gentry, so the Morte may occasionally display a predilection towards the gentry values. However, previous studies of the gentry have demonstrated that the gentry culture was not isolated. There was constant interaction between the nobility and the gentry on the one hand and the gentry and merchant elites on the other hand. Therefore, in discussing the context of Malory’s Morte, I will use texts coming from a variety of social backgrounds, from the London Chronicle to books owned by the royal family.

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