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Title: Anglo-Scandinavian literature and the post-conquest period
Author: Parker, Eleanor Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 215X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis concerns narratives about Anglo-Scandinavian contact and literary traditions of Scandinavian origin which circulated in England in the post-conquest period. The argument of the thesis is that in the eleventh century, particularly during the reign of Cnut and his sons, literature was produced for a mixed Anglo-Danish audience which drew on shared cultural traditions, and that some elements of this largely oral literature can be traced in later English sources.  It is further argued that in certain parts of England, especially the East Midlands, an interest in Anglo-Scandinavian history continued for several centuries after the Viking Age and was manifested in the circulation of literary narratives dealing with Anglo-Scandinavian interaction, invasion and settlement.  The first chapter discusses some narratives about the reign of Cnut in later sources, including the Encomium Emmae Reginae, hagiographical texts by Goscelin and Osbern of Canterbury, and the Liber Eliensis; it is argued that they share certain thematic concerns with the literature known to have been produced at Cnut’s court.  The second chapter explores the literary reputation of the Danish Earl of Northumbria, Siward, and his son Waltheof in twelfth-century sources from the East Midlands and in thirteenth-century Norwegian and Icelandic histories.  The third chapter deals with an episode in the Middle English romance Guy of Warwick in which the hero helps to defeat a Danish invasion of England, and examines the romance’s references to a historical Danish right to rule in England.  The final chapter discusses the Middle English romance Havelok the Dane, and argues that the poet of Havelok, aware of the role of Danish settlement in the history of Lincolnshire, makes self-conscious use of stereotypes and literary tropes associated with Danes in order to offer an imaginative reconstruction of the history of Danish settlement in the area.
Supervisor: O'Donoghue, Heather Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English and Old English literature ; English Language and Literature ; Languages (Medieval and Modern) and non-English literature ; Literatures of Germanic languages ; Anglo-Scandinavian ; Middle English ; oral literature ; medieval romance