Session Title

From Anglo-Norman to English Knight: Romance and Reality

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Dept. of English Studies, Durham Univ.

Organizer Name

Meghan Glass, N. J. C. Smith

Organizer Affiliation

Durham Univ., Lynchburg College

Presider Name

Jenny Adams

Presider Affiliation

Univ. of Massachusetts-Amherst

Paper Title 1

The Bravest of Knights and the Loveliest of Ladies: Knighthood in Guy of Warwick, Bevis of Hampton, and King Horn

Presenter 1 Name

Meghan Glass

Paper Title 2

Romance and Knightly Service: England in the Twelfth Century

Presenter 2 Name

N. J. C. Smith

Paper Title 3

The Visual Knight: Navigating Identity in Illuminated Manuscripts and Funerary Art

Presenter 3 Name

SaraLouise Smith Howells

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Pennsylvania State Univ.

Paper Title 4

Accounting for Honor: Reformulating Late Medieval Knighthood for the Mercantile Classes

Presenter 4 Name

Robert Allen Rouse

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Univ. of British Columbia

Start Date

12-5-2013 8:30 AM

Session Location

Fetzer 1005

Description

The Department of English Studies at Durham University's Kalamazoo 2013 Sponsored Session: From Anglo-Norman to English Knight: Romance and Reality is meant to provide a study of knighthood which transcends disciplinary lines in order to ascertain a fuller understanding of the insular knight. The focus on England and the Anglo-Norman knight takes advantage of an area with a rich tradition of romance, but also one that provides early and thorough empirical evidence of knighthood. At present, studies tend to focus their efforts on the knight as a reality of the records, a theological crusader, or a romanticized product of literature. Our session intends to combine these discussions on one of the foremost medieval cultural figures in order to ascertain a more holistic understanding of how the knight was viewed by contemporaries in the medieval period.

The fictional stories of romance typically portray how society viewed knights and knighthood through idealization of the figure. The question remains, however, which aspects of these constructed characters are mimesis and which are fantasy. Similarly, the archetypal Christian figure of the crusader knight is found in religious tracts from the period; yet it is questionable which aspects of these portrayals are accurate reflections, and which are simply tools for advancing the Church's objectives. Historical records and archaeological research suggest a number of realistic aspects of knighthood--but these historical facts often leave unanswered questions when pieced together. By viewing the knight through the lens of multiple disciplines, we hope that our session will provide a more cohesive narrative about this iconic medieval identity. Similar studies have been published with regards to medieval representations of castles (see Reyerson & Powe 1984) and current academic studies are being conducted on such juxtapositions and conversations with relation to medieval courts. To our knowledge, however, no such study has yet been published with regard to the figure of the knight. It is our intention that this session should not stand alone, but rather provide a useful building block for future research in this area.

Meghan Glass

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May 12th, 8:30 AM

From Anglo-Norman to English Knight: Romance and Reality

Fetzer 1005

The Department of English Studies at Durham University's Kalamazoo 2013 Sponsored Session: From Anglo-Norman to English Knight: Romance and Reality is meant to provide a study of knighthood which transcends disciplinary lines in order to ascertain a fuller understanding of the insular knight. The focus on England and the Anglo-Norman knight takes advantage of an area with a rich tradition of romance, but also one that provides early and thorough empirical evidence of knighthood. At present, studies tend to focus their efforts on the knight as a reality of the records, a theological crusader, or a romanticized product of literature. Our session intends to combine these discussions on one of the foremost medieval cultural figures in order to ascertain a more holistic understanding of how the knight was viewed by contemporaries in the medieval period.

The fictional stories of romance typically portray how society viewed knights and knighthood through idealization of the figure. The question remains, however, which aspects of these constructed characters are mimesis and which are fantasy. Similarly, the archetypal Christian figure of the crusader knight is found in religious tracts from the period; yet it is questionable which aspects of these portrayals are accurate reflections, and which are simply tools for advancing the Church's objectives. Historical records and archaeological research suggest a number of realistic aspects of knighthood--but these historical facts often leave unanswered questions when pieced together. By viewing the knight through the lens of multiple disciplines, we hope that our session will provide a more cohesive narrative about this iconic medieval identity. Similar studies have been published with regards to medieval representations of castles (see Reyerson & Powe 1984) and current academic studies are being conducted on such juxtapositions and conversations with relation to medieval courts. To our knowledge, however, no such study has yet been published with regard to the figure of the knight. It is our intention that this session should not stand alone, but rather provide a useful building block for future research in this area.

Meghan Glass