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Title: The emotional rhetoric of the later Crusades : romance in England after 1291
Author: Elias, John Marcel Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 061X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis offers an assessment of late medieval public response to the crusades through an investigation of emotional rhetoric in the Middle English crusading romances. It argues that the prevailing climate after the fall of Acre in 1291 and the evacuation of the last Christian strongholds in the Levant was characterized by a mixture of enduring enthusiasm and fascination, but also of concern, anxiety, and self-questioning, engendered by the enterprise's failures. The loss of the Holy Land had enduring repercussions on Christian crusading mindsets, marking a culminating point in Islam's seemingly relentless victories in wars believed to be ordained by God, and the collapse of Christendom's ambitions to secure lasting dominion over Christ's patrimony. The late thirteenth century was also a turning point in the history of insular romance, with the progressive displacement of Anglo Norman by Middle English, expanding the genre's audience. Reworking the emotional depictions of their sources, authors or adaptors of late medieval English crusading romances engaged with, and elicited reflection on, the cultural anxieties of the time: man's relation to God, the workings of divine providence, Christianity's ascendency over Islam, human agency, the connection between morality and fortune, the bearing of motives on actions, and the moral limitations of violence.
Supervisor: Cooper, Helen Sponsor: Gates Cambridge Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Crusades ; Emotion ; Middle English Romance ; East-West relations ; Chivalry ; English literature ; History