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Title: How monstrosity and geography were used to define the other in early medieval Europe
Author: Berg, Jason Ryan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 4706
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2015
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My thesis deals with texts that are either often not investigated in their entirety or that have large portions of their narratives overlooked in favour of more traditionally popular sections. The stories and descriptions of monstrous races included in these texts, many of which are cornerstones of western myth – cynocephali, amazons, cyclopes, giants, dragons, etc. – were inherited by the Early Middle Ages from its Greco-Roman past and redeployed in response to shifting frontiers, both literally and metaphorically in order to make sense of their new world. My thesis is very much an inter-disciplinary study, making use of anthropological and literary theory concerning social identity and the conceptions of the fabulous, miraculous, and the monstrous and combines a close textual analysis of primary source material with a detailed reconstruction of the context in which these texts were created and transmitted. What was it about these particular texts that resulted in their widespread transmission? How were these descriptions of the monstrous used to define the other? How were these same descriptions used to define barbarian groups? Was there a geographical link between where these texts placed their monsters and real geographical frontiers? How were texts like this used to shape a Christian identity in such a way that it was distinct from a non-Christian one? These questions and others like them will lie at the heart of my thesis.
Supervisor: Wood, Ian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available