IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 820: Memory in Malory and Related Romances

Tuesday 3 July 2018, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Zoƫ Eve Enstone, Lifelong Learning Centre, University of Leeds
Paper 820-aThe Necessary Bastard: Inversions, Paradoxes, and the Characterization of Mordred in Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur
(Language: English)
Peter Valenti, School of Liberal Studies, New York University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Sexuality
Paper 820-b'He had forgotten his lemon': The Lady of the Fountain as Fides Forgotten
(Language: English)
Rebekah Fowler, Department of English, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - Middle English, Mentalities, Philosophy

Paper -a:
Despite his very limited appearance throughout Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur, the character of Mordred is pivotal in developing the overall arc of the tragedy of King Arthur. Furthermore, Mordred literally frames the beginning and end of Arthur’s kingship, and quite dramatically brings to the surface themes of adultery, incest, and destiny. This paper is a sustained analysis of Malory’s characterisation of Mordred and his utilisation and alteration of his sources in doing so. After a careful comparison with those sources, it becomes evident that Malory not only made conscious choices in enhancing the evil stature of Mordred but that he also did not forget to ‘rehersith aftirward’ the life of Mordred, which has been a point of debate among scholars.

Paper -b:
Fidelity is frequently linked to memory in medieval literature, whether through the quality of memory itself or as a reminder of an oath of good faith. In various versions of the story of the Lady of the Fountain, the knight’s forgetfulness of his lady is equated with a lack of fidelity to her. This paper argues that the Lady allegorically represents fides, the duty-bound fealty of a knight to his lord, that the knight’s forgetfulness of her represents dereliction of duty to his lord, and that realignment with this virtue is achieved only through access to memory and its loss.