'The Dialogic Town in the Arthurian Romances of Chrétien de Troyes’
The annual lecture of the Centre for Arthurian Studies
- Thursday 24 March 2022, 17:30–18:30
Prof. Helen Fulton - Bristol University
Alongside their evocations of romantic landscapes and challenging wilderness, the discourses of chivalric literature also encompass towns and urban culture. Through this urban discourse, towns are produced as the feminine 'other' of an aggressive masculine subjectivity. In the twelfth-century Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes, towns play an important role: each of his heroes, Yvain, Eric and Perceval, meet their female partners in an urban setting. Towns are positioned as objects of male desire, feminized by their association with women and commerce. The relationship between knight and town is dialogic: women and towns are empowered to 'talk back' to the knights, interrogating chivalric culture and identity. The dialogism is political as well as gendered, with the feudal and urban orders voicing competing claims to lordship and economic power.
Helen Fulton is Chair of Medieval Literature at the University of Bristol. She has published widely on medieval Welsh and English literatures, including Arthurian literature. She currently holds a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to work on medieval Welsh political poetry. Recent books include the co-edited volume, Cambridge History of Welsh Literature (2019) and the edited volume Chaucer and Italian Culture (2021).
Meeting ID: 930 3564 0326