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Title: Combat, crusade, and conversion : prose romance and the English printing press, 1473-1534
Author: Mason, David Stuart
ISNI:       0000 0004 8508 8434
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines how English prose romances printed by William Caxton (1473–1492) and Wynkyn de Worde (1492–1534) replicate and refashion romance memes and traditions in ways that resonate with contemporary crusading concerns. Often selectively translated and adapted from French sources, these printed romances reached a broader audience than earlier English romances and spoke to anxieties shared by the English aristocracy, gentry, and growing middle classes. Critics have examined these romances’ concerns about social discord in conjunction with the Wars of the Roses. However, Malory’s Morte Darthur has dominated critical attention; until recently, other contemporary prose romances which resonate with the same issues had received little attention, and these understudied prose romances have not yet been considered (either on their own or alongside Malory’s Morte) in terms of their engagement with crusading desires, rather than civil strife. This thesis offers the first full study of how the first two generations of English printed prose romances respond to growing anxieties regarding fractures in Christian and English identities, and the perceived threat of the Ottoman Empire, by modelling how crusade might reunite the Christian world (and English society). The first chapter establishes the historical and cultural contexts in which the prose romances were produced and received. Chapter Two argues that the prose romances give a new twist to the familiar motif of the knightly encounter with enemy Saracens, foregrounding how crusade can strengthen Christian chivalric communities through conversion. Chapter Three follows by addressing the ways in which the prose romances deploy architectural structures to show how the (ideological) control of space shapes a successful crusading campaign. The fourth and final chapter addresses the nature of the supernatural in the prose romances, to argue that these texts also ii reconfigure wider conventions of the genre in ways that resonate with contemporary crusading impulses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN Literature (General)