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    Women in (and) between men in fourteenth-century English dream allegories

    Horn, William (2021) Women in (and) between men in fourteenth-century English dream allegories. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Abstract

    This thesis identifies structural patterns of gender in relation to mediatrix figures in fourteenth-century English dream allegories. Personification's reification bridges the gap within hierarchies of masculine identity through an interceding femininity. In a dream allegory, the mediatrix appears inside the symbolic field of a narrating identity to reconcile a developing masculine assertion of identity with a patriarchal power. The feminine mediatrix performs this reconciliation by representing patriarchal power in terms which can be understood within the experience of a developing masculine identity. Thus, the mediatrix appears in order to vanish: the mediatrix is a femininity between masculine identities that articulates the way in which those masculine identities were always already united within the chain of patriarchal power. Allegorical structures of gender flourished throughout the medieval period and beyond. In order to better understand how allegorical gender structures shift and evolve to meet the needs of new literary voices, this thesis has isolated one particular scene of gender structuring: fourteenth-century English dream allegories. What makes this period valuable for a study of gender structures is the active interpretation and iteration of traditions of allegorical gender which occurred during this poetic moment. In fourteenth-century English dream allegories, one can see how gender structures arrive into and interact with an emerging literature. This thesis charts the movement of concepts of the gendered mediatrix in three phases. Part I examines the discursive traditions of gender structures that existed in medieval literature prior to the fourteenth century. Part II studies two Chaucerian translations of medieval dream allegories, the Boece and The Romaunt of the Rose, to consider what those gender structures looked like as they arrived into Middle English literature. Part III investigates two original fourteenth-century English dream allegories, Piers Plowman and Pearl, to parse how those gender structures developed the figure of the mediatrix in new ways.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2022 18:40
    Last Modified: 24 Feb 2022 21:58
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/47643

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