"Skilfully blending analysis of medieval ideas of optics and vision with careful close readings of the text and deft use of modern critical theory, the author offers a fresh, exciting and insightful reading of the Morte. Of interest to all medievalists, and particularly fascinating for those working in the fields of Arthurian literature, medieval science and philosophy, and gender studies." Dorsey Armstrong, Purdue University. This first book-length study of vision in the Morte Darthur examines the roles played by sight - seeing and being seen - in the Morte's construction of gender, highlighting also the influence of the romance genre in this process. The discussion addresses several key figures: Gareth provides a paradigm of visible romance masculinity; Launcelot's and Trystram's adulteries introduce competing needs for both visibility and invisibility; Palomydes and other less acclaimed knights, and reactions to their shortcomings, confirm the model of visible gender; grail knights and Malory retain secular romance ideas of vision and gender on the religious quest; and the two Elaynes and Percivale's sister prove femininity more variable and less rigid than masculinity in the text. The book argues that visibility is crucial to Malory's conception of gender identity and, further, that masculinity and femininity are determined throughout the Morte by the romance genre. MOLLY MARTIN is Assistant Professor of English at McNeese State University.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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