Session 231: Modelling Ethical Reform in Medieval Literature, II
Monday 6 July 2015, 14.15-15.45
|Moderator/Chair:||Justin Stover, All Souls College, University of Oxford|
|Paper 231-a||Noble Abductions and Adulteries: Baudri of Bourgueil and the Ecclesiastical Reform of Marriage|
Index terms: Canon Law, Language and Literature - Latin, Mentalities, Social History
|Paper 231-b||Tradition and Innovation in Matthew of Vendôme's Tale of Pyramus and Thisbe|
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Learning (The Classical Inheritance)
|Paper 231-c||Tradition and Renewal in the Educational and Philosophical View of Michael Psellos|
Index terms: Byzantine Studies, Education, Philosophy
Considered in this light, the love story of Pyramus and Thisbe, written by Matthew of Vendôme in the first half of the 13th century, appears emblematic. The story originally formed part of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (4,55-166) but was subsequently retold by numerous authors of the medieval period.
My analysis will attempt to shed light on the means by which Matthew of Vendôme obviously draws inspiration from the Ovidian myth while at the same time incorporating numerous new and meaningful elements to the Ovidian original. I refer, for instance, to the youth of two lovers, a particular aspect of the tale on which Matthew of Vendôme insists, an aspect destined to arouse compassion in readers unable to remain indifferent to the tragic inexperience and naivety of the two. Moreover, Matthew of Vendôme connects the theme of ‘one soul in bodies twain’ with the sentimental aspect of the dramatic event, emphasizing the paradoxical condition of young lovers, who would like to be joined as one. This wish, evidently unattainable during their earthly life, leads the two lovers to a desperate suicide fueled by the Christian hope in union after death.