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Title: Vernacular history in the making : Anglo-Norman verse historiography in the twelfth century.
Author: Damian-Grint, Peter Benedict.
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 1994
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The first significant form of vernacular historiography in French, the verse estoire, was produced in the Anglo-Norman regnum between c. 1135 and the early years of the thirteenth century. Despite its importance, this genre (comprising at least fourteen texts and forming a corpus of over '/a million verse lines) has largely been ignored in studies of the vernacular literature of the period. After a general survey of twelfth-century attitudes to history, and a more detailed overview of Latin and vernacular historiography in the Anglo-Norman regnum during the twelfth century, this study delineates the corpus of verse estoires. Taking as a starting-point the acknowledged `self-conscious' authorial presentation common to much medieval literature, the study then examines the whole of the estoire corpus from the viewpoint of authorial self-consciousness and self-presentation within the text. This authorial persona is examined in three main areas: firstly, authorial self-presentation and presentation of the nature of historiography in prologues and epilogues; secondly, direct authorial intervention in the narrative, in particular the `authorising' interventions (references to sources and assertions of speaking the truth) characteristic of historiography; and thirdly, the terminology chosen by historiographical authors to refer to their works and their source materials. Particular attention is paid to the three most commonly used terms, estoire, geste, and livre. These aspects of authorial self-presentation are placed within the context of the social and literary factors influencing the appearance of the different types of verse estoire in twelfth-century Britain. From this, the study attempts to give a practical working definition of the verse estoire, and suggests reasons for the appearance and the disappearance of the genre. Finally, the verse estoire is placed within its wider literary context, and an analysis is offered of its role in relation to the development of other major literary forms of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The study closes with three appendices, comprising transcriptions of two previously unavailable verse estoire fragments, together with a list of all examples of authorial interventions and uses of historiographical terminology in the texts of the corpus.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature