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Title: Friendship and favour in Late Anglo-Saxon élite culture : a study of documentary and narrative sources, c.900-1016
Author: Schro¨der, Els
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 2599
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis is a study of the textual representation of friendship in a selection of documentary and narrative sources, portraying the ideas circulating amongst the élite of late Anglo-Saxon England. Friendship as a reciprocal bond at the heart of both formal and informal power negotiations in the social structure of the late Anglo-Saxon kingdom has surprisingly been overlooked in research of this period. The aim of this study is to assess and reveal some of the ideological discourses which position friendship at the intersection of formal and informal bonds, public and private negotiation of power and authority, idealised and actual conceptualisations of social interaction, and secular and religious relations in an increasingly layered and complex society. A detailed study of sources in both Latin and the vernacular will be presented, opening up two linguistic modes channelling and negotiating this essentially reciprocal bond within a complex social interchange based on personal bonds and loyalty. Lawcodes, charters, wills, a selection of poetry, and a collection of hagiographical material will be assessed in close detail, demonstrating that friendship was both an ideological and practical notion at the heart of the social fabric of late Anglo-Saxon England. In doing so, friendship’s flexibility, multi-interpretability, and supplementary nature will prove to be its most valuable aspects for revealing ideas and commenting on various issues from within the construction of society, including the gendered vocabulary of social bonds. Friendship occurs as establishing and negotiating the bonds between the kings and their dependants alongside affective modes of behaviour, and as shaping and communicating the precarious relationship between the lay and religious élite. This in turn has important lessons to teach for the study of medieval friendship in a wider European context.
Supervisor: Cubitt, Catherine ; Tyler, Elizabeth M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available