The geographical ‘margins’ of the British Isles frequently serve as the location for marvellous beings, occurrences, and enchantments in Old French literature of the 12th and 13th centuries. In this paper, I will analyse the representation of the marvellous across these settings in several Old French texts, tracing common motifs and exploring how their representation might map onto those in Latin ‘historical’ writings and in ecclesiastical teachings. This will lead to a broader consideration of the relationship between ‘fiction’ and ‘history’, asking how differing narratives might have played into the lived experience of the audience.
This paper will explore the role of the dog-like Questing Beast in making and breaking boundaries in Malory’s Morte D’arthur. The exclusivity of the Questing Beast adventure, owned first by King Pellinor, and afterwards by Palomides, evokes the owner-dog bond, which challenges the romance’s hierarchical human affinities among Round Table knights and their purported values. Why are Pellinor and Palomides linked by the Beast adventure? Pellinor’s uneasy assimilation into the Round Table (as Torre’s father and King Lot’s killer) contrasts with Palomides’s valorous victories and unrequited love for Isolde. The Beast, which seeks, barks, and is sought, signals the limits of the Arthurian performance of justice, as well as the possibility of reimagining those limits through Palomides’s transformative yearning to be ‘other’.
L’Ovide moralisé, the first complete translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, is a work that brings together two types of discourse: a mythological and an allegorical. My paper will aim to explore the borders between these two types of discourse within the manuscript tradition (consisting of 19 manuscripts produced over a period of 150 years), through an analysis of the paratexts. I will try to see if elements such as illustrations, rubrics, marginal annotations and reading marks contribute to make explicit the distinction between myth and allegory or if, on the contrary, they tend to conceal the heterogeneous nature of the text.