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Work in Progress: Kirsty Bolton, ‘Motherhood and Building in Medieval Romance Seminar

Work in Progress
Time:
14:00
Date:
1 November 2017
Venue:
Avenue Campus 65/1173

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Professor Stephen Bygrave at s.j.bygrave@soton.ac.uk .

Event details

Part of the English Work in Progress Seminars 2017-18

Kirsty Bolton, ‘Motherhood and Building in Medieval Romance’

Mothers are everywhere in medieval romance, a genre concerned with lineage, dynasty, and destiny, and a hero’s proper place within the world.  Mothers and mothering characters are integral to these concerns, yet the concept of motherhood in medieval romance has not received much academic attention.  My thesis attempts to address this research gap, focusing on mothers in medieval romance, and how the representation of these characters intervenes in contemporary debates on motherhood.  In particular, I will explore the different representations of how mothers use and contribute to space in these texts, from the birthing room to acts of physical construction.  I will argue that building, in its various guises, is integral to the enactment of the identity of mother in many medieval romance texts.

In this paper, I will explore specific spaces in physical buildings where activities associated with motherhood were performed.  I will look at the female only space of the birthing room, analysing how romance interpreted the contemporary opinion that men should not be involved with childbirth.  I will also look at how other places were used, such as nurseries and school rooms, and how women and mothers controlled and contributed to these spaces.

About the speaker

I am a 3rd year part-time PhD student, supervised by Catherine Clarke and Marianne O’Doherty.  The title of my thesis is Founding Lineages, Building Dynasties: Motherhood, Building, and Space in Medieval Romance.

Detail of a miniature of the birth of Alexander the Great, from Historia Alexandri Magni, Netherlands (Bruges), c. 1485 - 1490, Royal MS 20 C III, f. 15r
Detail of a miniature of the birth of Alexander the Great

Detail of a miniature of the birth of Alexander the Great, from Historia Alexandri Magni, Netherlands (Bruges), c. 1485 - 1490, Royal MS 20 C III, f. 15r

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