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Durham e-Theses
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From Romance into Reality:
Influences of Medieval Romance Literature
on the Architecture and Design of Later
Medieval English Castles and Elite Landscapes

RICHARDS, HEIDI,ELYSE (2023) From Romance into Reality:
Influences of Medieval Romance Literature
on the Architecture and Design of Later
Medieval English Castles and Elite Landscapes.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

[img]PDF (Doctoral thesis) - Accepted Version


This PhD provides an original reassessment of the extent to which medieval Romance literature influenced late medieval English castles, and their landscape, architecture, structuration and design. Drawing a perspective from buildings archaeology, this research brings together multiple avenues of research within medieval studies,
including medieval literature, chivalry, socio-political history and castle studies, in order to argue that Romance literature definitely did impact the medieval ´elite secular built environment, which, in previous studies, has remained mostly speculative or inconclusive. This Romantic influence is identified in broad, generalized architectural trends, as well as within unique features at individual sites. This research also addresses personal aspirations and self-associations underlying and motivating these Romantic influences within their socio-political and geographical contexts. The first four chapters of this thesis explore topical themes of castle studies, medieval Romance literature and contemporary chivalric values to provide necessary background information and highlight the interrelated nature of these disparate aspects of medieval culture. Building upon the information from these foundation
chapters, three case study chapters identify, assess and discuss specific examples of Romanticized medieval architecture that I have classified into three distinct subheadings: that within broad trends of Romanticized chivalric structuration, specific spaces and features in the surrounding castle landscape, and finally, through individualised instances with site-specific features. These case studies are followed by a discussion to contextualize and summarize the Romantic influences within medieval
´elite society and its built environment, as well as the lasting impacts of Romance and chivalry which have continued to shape English national identity.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Medieval Romance literature, Castles, Medieval England, Chivalry, Arthurian literature
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:27 Mar 2023 10:25

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