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Title: A dialogic reading of the 'Prose Tristan'
Author: Nolan, Mary Diana
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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The aim of this thesis is to continue the debate surrounding the Prose Tristan. Our contribution is a dialogic reading of the text, that is, a reading informed by the theories of Mikhail Bakhtin, especially those concerning novelistic discourse. Situating it in the romance tradition of the thirteen century, that of the Lancelot-Graal cycle, we look at features of the Prose Tristan which can be seen to correspond to what Bakhtin considers the essence of novelness, dialogism. There are many dialogic relationships in the text. We assess the tension, in the narrative technique, between the voice of the narrator in its organisational role (centripetal forces), and in its tendency to undermine audience expectation, which results in a decentralising effect, (centrifugal forces). The organisation of chronology is assessed, including at times, an apparent suppression of chronology. In the skilful use of repetition, through doubling of characters and recurring motifs, we can see important dialogic relationships between characters and themes emerging within the text. The recurring motif of mise en abyme provides frequent generic insertions in the text, thereby creating a variety of discourses within the romance, which can also be seen to interact dialogically. These generic insertions, along with the organisation of different voices, identified with both narrator and characters, are discussed in terms of heteroglossia and polyphony, key aspects of Bakhtin's definition of novelness. It is not a perfect fit, but, assessing to what extent the Prose Tristan, as a whole, corresponds to this Bakhtinian theoretical framework, enables us to appreciate just how rich, complex and radical its narrative technique is, and, subsequently, its ideology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available