Victorian Medievalisms: Rehabilitating Arthur in Eleonora Louisa Hervey’s Feasts

Ward, Renée (2022) Victorian Medievalisms: Rehabilitating Arthur in Eleonora Louisa Hervey’s Feasts. In: The Arthurian World. Routledge. ISBN UNSPECIFIED

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Abstract

The Victorian practice of returning to the medieval past to reimagine the present is well established, and in recent years numerous critics have shown that women writers in the nineteenth century, like their male counterparts, had a vested interest in deploying the medieval in order to critique the world around them. This chapter focuses on Elearnora Louisa Hervey (1811-1903), a prolific writer generally unknown in the present day, and her major Arthurian text, The Feasts of Camelot (1863, 1877). In Feasts, Hervey blends traditional Arthurian narratives with other medieval sources as well as with non-medieval materials; she presents revisionist adaptations that frequently invert more widely known character traits or plot incidents; and she foregrounds a number of tales specifically concerned with female experiences. As this chapter shows, her interventions in the narrative structures and motifs typically associated with the Arthurian myth, her use of the medieval narratorial art form, interlacement, and her rewriting of a well-known (non-Arthurian) story which foregrounds the themes of motherhood and wifehood all contribute to her critique of patriarchal structures and gendered social roles that disadvantage women, as well as to her interpretation of Arthur as an exemplary figure of benevolent and just rule.

Keywords:King Arthur, Arthurian studies, Medievalism, Children's literature, Chaucer, Medieval Literature, Griselda, Tristan and Isolde, Eleanora Louisa Hervey
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q323 English Literature by topic
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q322 English Literature by author
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q321 English Literature by period
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:45721
Deposited On:24 Aug 2021 14:07

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