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The Authoring of a Queen: Identity in Isabelline Literature

ZARRAGA, JESSICA,MARIA (2020) The Authoring of a Queen: Identity in Isabelline Literature. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Scholarly analysis to date considers the concept of medieval queenship within the parameters of the queen regent or consort role. This is problematic in the investigation of a queen regnant. Isabel la Católica (1474-1504) crafted a queenship that cannot be compared to the regents or consorts whose power stemmed from a source of male authority. This dissertation addresses queenship at a theoretical level to provide a definition conducive to Isabel’s role as monarch. It considers the limitations of her sex in relation to a political and societal position that was considered the sole dominion of men. It suggests that the conflicting aspects of Isabel’s identity, the woman and the ruler, were reconciled within her self-fashioning without weakening her political position.
Identity within self-fashioning provides a theoretical framework in which to explore how others perceived her queenship through the means of 15th century literature. The dissertation builds upon the work of Stephen Greenblatt (1980), Judith Butler (1999 and 2010) and Barbara Weissberger (2008) to examine identity as a performative act and suggests that Isabel’s queenship was fundamentally formed by her self-fashioning through historical discourse. The four texts discussed, Crónica de los Reyes Católicos, La Poncella de Francia, Dechado a la muy escelente reina Doña Isabel, and Tractado de amores de Arnalte y Lucenda, demonstrate how identity is conveyed through different genres of literature. The dissertation analyses the extent to which Isabel maintains control over the authoring of her identity. Significant is the inversely proportionate relationship between the authorial control outside Isabel’s sphere of influence and the impact it has over her identity. Whilst works considered more literary provide scope to deviate from Isabel’s self-fashioning, they are not persuasive enough to overpower it. Ultimately, Isabel is the author of her identity, setting a precedent that affects how she is perceived throughout history.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Mar 2020 10:50

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