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Lecture

ENGB31

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Department
English
Course
ENGB31
Professor
Natalie Rose
Semester
Winter

Description
ENGB31_Feb11 Idealisation of courtly love  May topos: “lovers [are] subject to the same force which reawakens the plants”  Contrast the irony in “slander and strife”  Elaine of Astolat: “Fir Launcelot is surely a noble knight, also the work of the Creator, so do I not honor Him in my love?” - 470  “First a man must love God his Creator, and then, if he is to be ennobled he ust love a woman” – 477  Fidelity and loyalty in love o “And among such lovers we must speak of Queen Gwynevere, who, because of her unfaltering love for Sir Launcelot, was to end her days honorably and with sweetness”  big clue that the narrator wants lessons to be learned  makes Launcelot really loyal and makes him constantly come back to Gwynevere  Launcelot as chivalric lover o Comes back to rescue Gwynevere (damsel in distress) before she burns at the steak o 1) poison apple o 2) slept with one of her 10 nights -> proof bloody sheet  Stress on loyalty; demotion of erotics o Cf. Tristan and Iseult, technical innocence o “Whether they made love that night or wished only to talk to each other is not known” (“Slander and Strife”) o Obscures the legal fact that in Malory’s time committing adultery with the queen = treason  Punishable by death; but malory does not show it as treason but as loyalty  “The king had suspected for many years that his queen was unfaithful to him; but because of his love for Sir Launcelot and for her, he had never wished to prove it”  “I regret less the loss of my queen, for of queens I had my choice, than of our fellowship which was surely without equal in all Christendom. Alas! That Sir Aggravayne and Sir Modred, led by the evil in their hearts should have brought us to this:” p 502 o not so much loss of Gwynevere o Arthur just wants the round table to be whole; do anything to maintain the bonds of the fellowship  Fellowship is being threatened o blame is not Launce + Gwyn; blame is diverted from them to Aggravayne and Modred, making it public is the problem o public marriage/ love o their love/ relationship ties to the relationship of the round table o even when Gwyen was blamed to poison the apple, Arthur asks “what have you done with him? Where is he” (referring to Launce)  Does it threaten or cement homosocial bonds, and how? o “How is it that you have lost him? Surely he is our greatest knight!” o “And thereafter Sir Launcelot was more than ever loved by the king and by the queen”  “The Knight of the Cart” o “The problem is the bloodied bed. Don’t the characters wonder whose blood it is and how it got there?” (Mark Lambert)  why don’t they ask these questions? Why doesn’t it matter?  Because Arthur was not there. Problem  Malory is kind of like Arthur; does not want to know what is going on  Works to reinforce the loyalty of the 10 knights; they are all loyal and non of them are committing treason  Blame it always on the woman  Question of shame o Concern is with “the queen’s shame rather than her guilt: we focus not on whether adultery was committed, but on whether the charge of treason can be made good” (Lambert) o Shame culture and the problem of public honor o Problem is not private adultery, but public exposure o “Sir, it is not for you or any knight to search the queen’s bed – such an action is altogether knavish. I do not suppose that the king himself would have the temerity to draw back the curtains of a lady’s bed unless he were about to enter it. Scurrilous as you are, you should have your head in shame”  Lancelot says to Meliogras because Meliogras just want to find the bad of people  Keep your nose to yourself and not make things public that are not to be made public  You overstep the mark and you shouldn’t doubt the queen because even the king wouldn’t allow this to happen  Horror of the exposure of the private life  Law vs. courtly love o When it becomes public then Arthur has to do something  N.B. Gawain’s defence of Launcelot and Gwynevere, and censure of his brothers and sons: “I hold their calumny in abhorrence”  Kinship revenge in “The Poisoned Apples” o Fra
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