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Durham e-Theses
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Time, Space, and Sanctity in the Early South English Legendary

KINSINGER, DENISE,FERN (2016) Time, Space, and Sanctity in the Early South English Legendary. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis studies one of the earliest extant and most important manuscripts of the extensive and widely circulated Middle English hagiographical collection conventionally known as the South English Legendary. Asserting that the organisational principles of Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud Misc. 108 are no less conscious than later SEL manuscripts and are in fact frequently more complex and involved in MS L than in other SEL manuscripts, this thesis offers a detailed reading of MS L’s structure and compositional templates. Moreover, rather than seeking to force MS L to conform to “normal” SEL patterns, this thesis examines MS L on its own terms. Arguing that MS L is not merely an early, erratic witness to the evolution of the SEL, the thesis demonstrates that MS L is part of a branch of the SEL stemma that includes Winchester College 33A. With special emphasis on the legend of Sancta Crux, a new approach to MS L’s texts is presented based upon the Bakhtinian narrative theories of the chronotope, heteroglossia, and dialogism. In addition, I argue that MS L adheres to liturgical or “horizontal” time far more than scholars previously have suggested and that it also incorporates spiritual or “vertical” time in a number of its texts. Furthermore, the characteristics of “recreation,” “re-creation,” “naming,” and “re-naming” in MS L’s texts are discussed in relation to medieval church dedication practices and modernist literary theory, particularly that of Gertrude Stein. I also conjecture a possible audience for MS L and discuss intrinsic and extrinsic textual communities.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:South English Legendary, Oxford Bodleian Library MS Laud Misc. 108, Hagiography, Middle English, Mikhail Bakhtin
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:31 May 2016 10:28

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