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Dress, Identity and Visual Display: Self-Fashioning in Middle English Romance

STAMATAKI, ALICE,CHRISTINA (2018) Dress, Identity and Visual Display: Self-Fashioning in Middle English Romance. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Clothing ‘speaks’. The act of dressing confers narratives of identity upon the wearer. The elite of late-medieval England understood the significance of dress; they utilised rich materials, strong colours and contemporary fashions to express, visually, statements of identity. These attitudes inform the expansive descriptions of rich dress in Middle English romance, in which a wealth of valuable materials, opulent accoutrements and contemporary fashions appear. Dress functions in romance as a visual representation of identity, providing an avenue through which wider thematic concerns find expression. For the Fair Unknown, the attaining of chivalric dress represents the integration of the individual into the courtly society. In the Middle English Breton lais, dress illustrates the internal fortitude of the Constance figure; it communicates also the transience of chivalric bonds and of kingship. In the northern Gawain romances, arming rituals and rich visual display represent the means through which chivalric communities affirm their identities. Using sociocultural detail, this study explores the significance of dress in Middle English romance, demonstrating that dress in romance suggests publically inner aspects of identity.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:medieval studies; medieval literature; Middle English; medieval romance; dress; identity; visual display; visuality; the fair unknown; breton lais; Gawain; northern Gawain romances; medieval dress; medieval clothing; gaze theory; Lybeaus Desconus; Perceval; Ipomadon; Emaré; Florence of Rome; Sir Orfeo; Sir Launfal; The Awntyrs off Arthur; Golagros and Gawain; The Greene Knight; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 Mar 2019 10:33

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