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The Galfridian tradition(s) in England, Scotland, and Wales: texts, purpose, context, 1138-1530

Shirley, Victoria 2017. The Galfridian tradition(s) in England, Scotland, and Wales: texts, purpose, context, 1138-1530. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis examines the responses to and rewritings of the Historia regum Britanniae in England, Scotland, and Wales between 1138 and 1530, and argues that the continued production of the text was directly related to the erasure of its author, Geoffrey of Monmouth. In contrast to earlier studies, which focus on single national or linguistic traditions, this thesis analyses different translations and adaptations of the Historia in a comparative methodology that demonstrates the connections, contrasts and continuities between the various national traditions. Chapter One assesses Geoffrey’s reputation and the critical reception of the Historia between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries, arguing that the text came to be regarded as an authoritative account of British history at the same time as its author’s credibility was challenged. Chapter Two analyses how Geoffrey’s genealogical model of British history came to be rewritten as it was resituated within different narratives of English, Scottish, and Welsh history. Chapter Three demonstrates how the Historia’s description of the island Britain was adapted by later writers to construct geographical landscapes that emphasised the disunity of the island and subverted Geoffrey’s vision of insular unity. Chapter Four identifies how the letters between Britain and Rome in the Historia use argumentative rhetoric, myths of descent, and the discourse of freedom to establish the importance of political, national, or geographical independence. Chapter Five analyses how the relationships between the Arthur and his immediate kin group were used to challenge Geoffrey’s narrative of British history and emphasise problems of legitimacy, inheritance, and succession. Chapter Six examines how the linguistic change of place names, and the reconfiguration of the insular landscape, undermine claims of British sovereignty and legitimise the transition of power between the Britons and the Saxons. Finally, the conclusion addresses how translators, adaptors, and compilers used the strategies of evaluation, quotation, translation, imitation, and revision to determine the authority of Geoffrey’s narrative of British history.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Funders: AHRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 March 2018
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2019 02:16

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