IMC 2004: Sessions

Session 1022: 'Us' and 'Them' in Chronicle and Romance

Wednesday 14 July 2004, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Roseanna Cross, Department of English, University of Bristol
Paper 1022-aThe Romans in Britain, the Britons in Rome: Views of Rome and the Romans in Lawman's Brut
(Language: English)
Lucy M. Perry, University College Dublin
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Middle English
Paper 1022-bCultural Collisions and the Construction of 'Englishness' in the Middle English Prose Brut
(Language: English)
Meg Lamont, Department of English, University of California, Los Angeles
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Middle English
Paper 1022-cIntimate Alterities: Insular Others and English Identity in Middle English Romance
(Language: English)
Robert A. Rouse, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Nottingham

session grouped by Catherine Batt (7/11/03):
Abstract paper -a:
The joint ancestry of the Romans and the Britons in early Brut chronicles gives impetus to their hostilities, finding a climax in Arthur’s campaign against Rome. The texts of the two extant versions of Lawman’s Brut offer interesting interpretative matter in an examination of this Galfridian narrative of Romano-British relations. The treatment of Rome in Lawman’s Brut shows discomfort with received notions of the Romans as a noble imperial race. Until, that is, the post-Arthurian chapters, when Rome as the centre of Christian spiritual life is treated with confidence. It will be argued that this discomfort is a symptom of the clash of Christian hermeneutics with classical mythology.
Abstract paper -b:
The immensely popular Middle English prose Brut often registers anxiety about the cultural heterogeneity of England, yet, remarkably, makes no move to occlude it. Focusing on one early episode in the “Brut,” the Cornish Queen Guentolen’s military victory over her philandering husband Locrine and her subsequent rule of all Britain, I will explore how the Brut_ approaches anxious moments of cultural collision, in terms of ethnicity, gender, and bloodlines. I will do so in the context of competing versions of the same episode to suggest how the “Brut” attempts to reconcile cultural differences within the ‘English’ people to create a sense of shared English nationhood.