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Title: Literary and historical representations of Edward II and his favourites, c.1305-1700
Author: Heyam, Kit Rafe
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 851X
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis examines the development of Edward II’s historiographical reputation during the period 1305-1700, focusing on the developing consensus concerning the sexual and romantic nature of his relationships with his male favourites and the anally penetrative nature of his murder. It considers this consensus as shaped by chronicle/historical texts, poetry, drama and political writings. Three techniques are central to the study: a historicist approach to the terminology and conceptualisation of sex; analysis of individual texts in relation to wider historiographical traditions and their own historical contexts; and consideration of literary concerns (elements that contribute to the creation of an enjoyably readable narrative) when accounting for decisions made by writers of all genres. The thesis is structured thematically, beginning with a detailed examination of the terminology with which sexual transgression is discussed in medieval and early modern texts and the formation of a consensus concerning Edward’s sexual behaviour (Chapter 1). I explore the representation of Edward’s relationships with his favourites as transgressive, in terms of their romantic and sexual nature and the favourites’ undesirable characteristics (Chapter 2); the use of Edward’s reign by English and French political writers (Chapter 3); and the role of literary decisions, principally the persistence of sensational details and the use of de casibus narrative structure, on the development of accounts of Edward’s deposition, imprisonment and death (Chapter 4). I engage in and contribute to debates concerning the changing nature of Edward’s reputation for sexually transgressive behaviour; to the analysis of the individual texts which constitute that reputation; to the interpretation of the penetrative murder narrative; and to the historiography of sex between men in medieval and early modern England. An appendix table collates the textual history, sources, influence and significance of the majority of accounts of Edward’s reign written during the period 1305-1700.
Supervisor: Hammond, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available