Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Feminist Origins of the Arthurian Legend

Overview

Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Feminist Origins of the Arthurian Legend provides the first feminist analysis of both the Arthurian section of The History of the Kings of Britain and The Life of Merlin. Fiona Tolhurst argues that because Geoffrey creates nontraditional and unusually powerful female figures, he stands outside of - and works against the misogyny of - the medieval literary tradition. This study employs the strategies of both historicist and New Historicist critics and adds a new dimension to existing ...

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Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Feminist Origins of the Arthurian Legend

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Overview

Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Feminist Origins of the Arthurian Legend provides the first feminist analysis of both the Arthurian section of The History of the Kings of Britain and The Life of Merlin. Fiona Tolhurst argues that because Geoffrey creates nontraditional and unusually powerful female figures, he stands outside of - and works against the misogyny of - the medieval literary tradition. This study employs the strategies of both historicist and New Historicist critics and adds a new dimension to existing scholarship by proposing that the word 'feminist' can be used to describe a medieval text that presents female figures meaningfully and, in most cases, positively.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Feminist Origins of the Arthurian Legend is smart, solid, and even. Its clear and precise prose makes it a highly enjoyable read. The reader leaves reevaluating gender ideas about the Middle Ages. Most important, Tolhurst makes it quite hard - even impossible - not to accept that Geoffrey was a feminist of his day . . . Scholars of Geoffrey, Wace, and Layamon will find this book enlightening and indispensable, as will Arthurian and medieval gender scholars more broadly." - The Medieval Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403965431
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 11/13/2012
  • Series: Arthurian and Courtly Cultures Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Fiona Tolhurst is Maitre Assistante in Medieval and Early Modern English at the University of Geneva. Her previous publications in the field of Arthurian studies include contributions to Eleanor of Aquitaine: Lord and Lady, Malory and Christianity: Essays on Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur, and Re-viewing Le Morte Darthur: Texts and Contexts, Characters and Themes. She is the editor of a special issue of Arthuriana on Geoffrey of Monmouth and co-editor with Bonnie Wheeler of On Arthurian Women: Essays in Memory of Maureen Fries.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

List of Abbreviations xi

Introduction Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Feminist Origins of the Arthurian Legend 1

1 Geoffrey of Monmouth's Arthurian Section as Feminist Legend 15

2 Complicating and Undermining Feminist Legend in Le roman de Brut 55

3 Displacing Feminist Legend in La3amon's Brut 83

4 Geoffrey of Monmouth's Life of Merlin as Feminist Text 113

Conclusion 139

Notes 141

Bibliography 171

Index 185

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