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Durham e-Theses
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Fictionalising the Past: Thirteenth-Century Re-imaginings of Recent Historical Individuals

BEDFORD, KATHRYN,ANN (2012) Fictionalising the Past: Thirteenth-Century Re-imaginings of Recent Historical Individuals. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The high medieval period saw the creation of numerous texts that straddled the borderline between history and fiction. A particularly striking group of texts in this context, which, surprisingly, have never been studied together, is that written in the aftermath of King John's reign concerning individuals who had been active in England and Northern France in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. These are: the History of William Marshal, the Romance of Fouke Fitz Waryn, the Romance of Richard Coeur de Lion, and the Story of Eustace the Monk. The lives of four very different men - a knight, an outlaw, a king and a mercenary - were all re-imagined in the course of the thirteenth century and within living memory of their actual lives and deeds. The following thesis identifies certain events in the lives of these men that both encouraged the development of fictional identities and shaped the form those identities were to take. It also demonstrates that the cultural trauma experienced as a result of the events of John’s reign allowed individuals of the recent past to be plausibly described in terms more often used for those some centuries hence. Fictionalised history will be shown to be a valuable source for both the relationship between historical and fictional literature in the Middle Ages, and popular attitudes to the past in so far as John’s reign can be perceived as a moment identified as one of cultural change.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Richard Coeur de Lion, Fouke Fitz Waryn, Eustace the Monk, William Marshal, Fiction, King John
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Dec 2012 10:07

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