IMC 2003: Sessions

Session 1008: Failed Societies: The Clash of Codes in Medieval Romance

Wednesday 16 July 2003, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Department of English, Ohio State University
Organiser:Emily Leverett, Department of English, Ohio State University
Moderator/Chair:Emily Leverett, Department of English, Ohio State University
Paper 1008-bPersonal Desire and the Code of Selfless Chivalry: Re-Examining the Final Tragedy in Morte D'Arthur
(Language: English)
Sarah Adams, Department of English, Ohio State University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English
Paper 1008-c'The Berdez of Burlyche Kyngez': Paternity and Monstrosity in the Alliterative Morte Arthure
(Language: English)
Dana Oswald, Department of English, Ohio State University
Index terms: Daily Life, Language and Literature - Middle English, Sexuality

The papers on this panel deal with the way individuals clash with culture or cultures clash with each other, revealing commentary on the dominant culture in each text. Joseph Pigg argues that the prayers depict the Saracens as proto-capitalist and the Christians as feudal, fusing ancient salvific religious rivalry with contemporary economic conflict. The marked binaries of capitalist/feudal and Saracen/Christian expressed in the poems prayers are exploited by the poet for a colonizing project. Sarah Adams questions the traditional view of Malory’s Gawain as representing an older, revenge base chivalric code and argues that the Morte D’Arthur’s final tragedy stems not from a conflict of codes, but the conflict between personal desire and a single chivalric code in which all Arthur’s knight’s participate. Finally, Dana Oswald argues that the consistent questions of violence, paternity, and impotence are manifested in the Giant of Mont St. Michel as he, even as a figure of the foreign barren and of excess sexuality, points to problematic paternity and impotence in Arthur’s kingdom.