Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 10399
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Hart , Carol.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Newly Ancient: Reinventing Guenevere in Malory's "Morte Darthur"
  • Source: Sovereign Lady: Essays on Women in Middle English Literature.  Edited by Muriel Whitaker.  Garland Publishing, 1995.  Pages 3 - 20.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Arthurian Literature Chivalry Guenevere, Queen (Literary Figure) Literature- Prose Love in Literature Malory, Sir Thomas, Author- Morte Darthur Women in Literature
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 15
  • Related Resources: "Malory's "revisioning" of Guenevere is the subject of Carol Hart's essay "Newly Ancient: Reinventing Guenevere in Malory's Morte Darthur." The English knight modified his sources to present a queen who is a moral authority, a civilizing influence in the court, a generous patron. Hart traces the development of the relationship between Lancelot and Guenevere through the various segments of Malory's text, noting how Malory changed his sources, eliminating the queen's "sexual aggression" and developing a relationship that seems to deepen over time. In the end, the queen's choice to abandon the world and retire to the convent in Almesbury inspires a similar renunciation in her former lover. In Malory's text, "Guenevere becomes Lancelot's passionate, exasperating and corporeal Beatrice." (18) The imperious and proud queen of the French tradition has become a human individual, complex and flawed. This very valuable study contains an erroneous reference to Marie de France, identifying her as Marie de Champagne, Abbess of Shaftesbury in Dorset. (19, note 2) Both Marie de Champagne and the Abbess of Shaftesbury, along with others, have been proposed as the author of the lais, but both are dubious choices. The scholarly consensus is that "in spite of these intriguing efforts at determining her identity, Dame Marie remains something of a mystery." (The Lais of Marie de France, translated by Glyn S. Burgess and Keith Busby, Penguin, 1986, p. 19.)" From the review written by Elizabeth Walsh of "Sovereign Lady," "Medieval Review" (TMR ID: 96.12.11). [Reproduced by permission of the "Medieval Review."].
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  • Year of Publication: 1995.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available
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