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Reading Narrative Images: Visual Literacy in Medieval Romance Texts and Illuminated Manuscripts

DOW, ANNA,ELIZABETH (2017) Reading Narrative Images: Visual Literacy in Medieval Romance Texts and Illuminated Manuscripts. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This study examines the instructive aspects of visual material in medieval romance texts and their illuminated manuscripts. Medieval romance contains an extensive array of visual references, and the present discussion focuses on the phenomenology of these episodes: depictions of the aesthetic and intellectual aftereffects of sight, and the imagination at work. Such instances are often related within the text to the act of reading itself, and through them the author encourages correct and effective practices of reading. In romance texts the characters often struggle to interpret such signs, sometimes with disastrous consequences, and their reactions in turn become lessons for the reader. The first section of the discussion focuses on romance texts, and particularly on depictions of image-crafting, the imagination at work, and the recognition and interpretation of visual signs. The discussion in the second section concentrates on illuminated romance manuscripts, and examines the authorial perspectives expressed through narrative illustration. The visual material of medieval romance is largely concerned with communication, and the didactic conversation that occurs between author and reader is implicit within the romance text. This study therefore demonstrates that the visual material in medieval romance narratives often has a practical function: to establish a dialogue between the author and reader, and sometimes the limner and reader, concerning good reading practices.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 May 2017 16:56

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