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Title: Narrative structure in Malory's Morte Darthur
Author: Edwards, E.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1996
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This dissertation considers the principles of structure in the Morte Darthur. I conceive of structure as an internal logic which generates the selection of incidents and stories and which governs the additions and deletions which Malory makes to his source material. I consider Malory as a participant in a textual tradition, Arthurian fiction, which has its own economy of symbols, and I explore the ways in which Malory deploys the Arthurian semiotics. I develop a theory of 'symbolic structure' to account for the generation and combination of narrative elements in Malory's work. I describe features typical of the work's narrative lexicon, such as redundancy and ellipsis, and I consider the relations of entire stories (such as "Balin" and "Gareth") to each other and to the symbolic economy of the "hoole book." Because Malory is principally a redactor and translator, the structure of his narrative is often the same as that of his sources. Alternatively, the structure of the sources often reveals what has caused Malory's version to be the way it is. This thesis therefore considers the sources in French and English in some detail, and sees the Morte Darthur both as a representative of the traditional oeuvre of Arthurian literature, and in some cases as a response to it. Thus I argue, for example, that Malory's interpolation of "The Healing of Sir Urry" provides a symbolic solution to certain problems raised in his main source, Le Mort le Roi Artu. Among the results of my inquiry is an account of historical change as it is registered in symbolic practice; by examining Malory's text--sometimes in minute detail--I show the ways in which a late redaction while to a large extent conserving thirteenth-century narratives and their concerns records, often in displaced ways, its own particular era and author.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available