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Title: Affections and ethics in Middle English romance : the overlap of poetic and philosophical discourses of emotions in King Horn, the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Author: Alqallab, Isra'a
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 6209
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates the intersection between the medieval poetic and ethical discourses in relation to their position towards emotions. It analyses the overlap of the poetic and philosophical discourses of emotions in the Middle English romances of King Horn, the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Through drawing upon intellectualism, voluntarism and nominalism as the three major medieval schools of thought, and their discourses of emotions pertaining to each period in which these individual texts were first written and received, this study traces a development in the attitude towards emotions that is reflected in the poetry of the period. The thesis therefore argues that while emotions in the earliest Middle English romance, King Horn, are treated as involuntary motions that belong to the sensitive appetite and which need to be controlled by reason according to social norms, in the early fourteenth-century Stanzaic Guy of Warwick, emotions are presented as voluntary passions that reflect the freedom of the will. Instead of treating the intellect as a source of ethics, the Stanzaic Guy of Warwick presents the passions of the will as the origin of morality. The thesis then proposes that the focus on the freedom of the will and its passions is more prominent in the late fourteenth-century Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. After suggesting a correspondence between the outlines of the nominalist discourse of emotions, which revolves around the individual's metaphysical freedom, and the poem's portrayal of the right to survive as the prime controller of Gawain's emotions, the thesis argues that Sir Gawain and the Green Knight presents an Ockhamist nominalist universe that prioritises human imperfect emotions to perfect divine emotions.
Supervisor: Radulescu, Raluca Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Middle English romance ; affections ; emotions ; ethics